Construction Versus Choice in Cognitive Measurement: Issues in Constructed Response, Performance Testing, and Portfolio Assessment

By Randy Elliot Bennett; William C. Ward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT AND EDUCATIONAL MEASUREMENT

Drew H. Gitomer Educational Testing Service

Good readers can recognize printed words more quickly than can poor readers ( Perfetti, 1985). Chess experts can remember game positions more accurately than novices ( Chase & Simon, 1973). Skills such as reading recognition and chess memory are emergent properties stemming from well-developed, easily accessible knowledge bases built from extensive reading or chess experience. These skills also can serve as limited proxy measures for assessing reading and chess ability, particularly if one wants to make a crude cut between good and poor performers. That is not to say, however, that such proxy measures are adequate for all assessment decisions, particularly those associated with instruction, for at least two reasons. First, these findings do not necessarily imply that training the emergent properties will benefit the criterion performance. Teaching someone skill at remembering chess positions is not likely to improve their overall chess playing ability. Second, because these proxy measures are not tied to the epistemology of a domain, the relationship of the skill to the domain is murky. Such tenuous relationships frequently lead to misleading instructional advice.

Although it is recognized that assessment must be considered in the context of its consequences, both intended and unintended ( Messick, 1989), and that different educational decisions require correspondent approaches to assessment ( LeMahieu & Wallace, 1986; Mislevy, this volume), a fairly rigid model of assessment has dominated in this country ( Resnick & Resnick, 1985). Assessments designed to assist in selection decisions (e.g., the SAT), or to make broad evaluative claims about institutional performance (e.g., norm-

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