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National Tests and Education Reform: Are They Compatible? William H. Angoff Memorial Lecture Series.

Jones, Lyle V.

Abstract: The President and the Department of Education have advocated national testing, but they have not really justified their use. Most educators argue for the importance of multiple assessments, rather than a single test of achievement with great impact on the future of a student and an educational system. Misuses of test results would plague national tests just as they trouble some state and local testing programs. Most of these misuses center around the potential of test scores to do harm to individual students. The perceived high status of a national test might increase the possibility that it would be used to make judgments inappropriately. A look at the practices of other countries suggests that those that use mandatory testing do not seem to have systematic differences in average achievement scores compared with countries that do not. Cogent lessons may be learned from the British experience. Teachers there believe that national testing has narrowed the curriculum, served to re-establish ability-group classrooms, and resulted in short-changing students with special needs. Using national tests would jeopardize the use of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) as an indicator of long-term educational progress, since no single test could cover the breadth of content that has characterized the NAEP over the years. Additional concerns about national testing include the temptation to produce lower test scores to qualify for funding or to elevate test scores through inappropriate practices. As currently proposed, national tests, it is argued, would do more harm than good. (Contains 44 references.) (SLD)

Title: National Tests and Education Reform: Are They Compatible? William H. Angoff Memorial Lecture Series.
Author: Jones, Lyle V.
Note: 23p.; Paper presented at the annual William H. Angoff Memorial Lecture held at Educational Testing Service (4th, Princeton, NJ, October 8, 1997).
Publication Year: 1997
Document Type: Evaluative Report (142); Conference Paper (150)
Target Audience: Practitioners and Teachers
ERIC Identifier: ED415278
Clearinghouse Identifier: TM028007

Descriptors: * Academic Achievement; Achievement Tests; Curriculum Development; * Educational Change; Elementary Secondary Education; Foreign Countries; * National Competency Tests; State Programs; Test Construction; * Test Use; * Testing Programs

Identifiers: Great Britain; High Stakes Tests; National Assessment of Educational Progress; Reform Efforts; Teaching to the Test

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