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

matter being taught should be important factors in teacher assessment. Can these beliefs be verified empirically? Is it possible for contextual factors to be included successfully in operational performance assessment systems? I expect that the answer to both these questions is yes, but additional data are surely needed.


CONCLUSIONS

Innovations and calls for the reform of teacher assessment demonstrate a larger truth: measurement must know its place. Measurement has enormous power to structure and illuminate important questions, but these questions themselves take precedence. The nature of teaching and the judgments that ought to be made about it are questions that arise from the field of teaching itself. The values of that field and its operating principles must be an integral part of teacher assessment if that assessment is to be judged useful in practice and successful in contributing to the solution of educational problems.

Traditional measurement values are sometimes in conflict with the dominant values of the discipline or system we seek to measure. In the case of teacher assessment, we are asked to sacrifice some control over sources of variation in order to take account of classroom context more intelligently. Classroom variability is thus not a contaminant in the measurement process, but an important part of what is measured. This conflict requires a reexamination of priorities and an openness to new ways of thinking about measurement. We have developed a formidable array of measurement and research tools that can be used in teacher assessment to improve education. But we can only be successful in the long term if we truly have the will to listen carefully to other voices, and to change.


REFERENCES

Bennett R. E., Ward W. C., Rock D. A., & LaHart C. ( 1990). Toward a framework for constructed- response items (RR-90-7). Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.

California Commission on the Teaching Profession. ( 1985). Who will teach our children? A strategy for improving California's schools. Sacramento, CA: California Commission on the Teaching Profession.

Coffman W. E. ( 1966). "On the validity of essay tests of achievement". Educational and Psychological Measurement, 3, 151-156.

Coffman W. E. ( 1990). "Educational measurement in theoretical and political perspective [Review of Educational measurement]". Educational Researcher, 19, 36-38.

Cole N. S. ( 1981). "Bias in testing". American Psychologist, 36, 1067-1077.

Cole N. S. ( 1988). "A realist's appraisal of the prospects for unifying instruction and assessment". Assessment in the service of learning: Proceedings of the ETS 1985 Invitational Conference (pp. 103-117). Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.

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