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The issues surrounding the comparability of various tests used to assess performance in schools received broad public attention during congressional debate over the Voluntary National Tests proposed by President Clinton in his 1997 State of the Union Address. Proponents of Voluntary National Tests argue that there is no widely understood, challenging benchmark of individual student performance in 4th-grade reading and 8th-grade mathematics, thus the need for a new test. Opponents argue that a statistical linkage among tests already used by states and districts might provide the sort of comparability called for by the president's proposal.

Public Law 105-78 requested that the National Research Council study whether an equivalency scale could be developed that would allow test scores from existing commercial tests and state assessments to be compared with each other and with the National Assessment of Education Progress.

In this book, the committee reviewed research literature on the statistical and technical aspects of creating valid links between tests and how the content, use, and purposes of education testing in the United States influences the quality and meaning of those links. The book summarizes relevant prior linkage studies and presents a picture of the diversity of state testing programs. It also looks at the unique characteristics of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Uncommon Measures provides an answer to the question posed by Congress in Public Law 105-78, suggests criteria for evaluating the quality of linkages, and calls for further research to determine the level of precision needed to make inferences about linked tests. In arriving at its conclusions, the committee acknowledged that ultimately policymakers and educators must take responsibility for determining the degree of imprecision they are willing to tolerate in testing and linking. This book provides science-based information with which to make those decisions.
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Additional Information

Publisher
National Academies Press
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Published on
Nov 30, 1998
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Pages
136
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ISBN
9780309173483
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / General
Education / Testing & Measurement
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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In recent years there have been increasing efforts to use accountability systems based on large-scale tests of students as a mechanism for improving student achievement. The federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a prominent example of such an effort, but it is only the continuation of a steady trend toward greater test-based accountability in education that has been going on for decades. Over time, such accountability systems included ever-stronger incentives to motivate school administrators, teachers, and students to perform better.

Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education reviews and synthesizes relevant research from economics, psychology, education, and related fields about how incentives work in educational accountability systems. The book helps identify circumstances in which test-based incentives may have a positive or a negative impact on student learning and offers recommendations for how to improve current test-based accountability policies. The most important directions for further research are also highlighted.

For the first time, research and theory on incentives from the fields of economics, psychology, and educational measurement have all been pulled together and synthesized. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education will inform people about the motivation of educators and students and inform policy discussions about NCLB and state accountability systems. Education researchers, K-12 school administrators and teachers, as well as graduate students studying education policy and educational measurement will use this book to learn more about the motivation of educators and students. Education policy makers at all levels of government will rely on this book to inform policy discussions about NCLB and state accountability systems.

How do other countries create “smarter” kids? What is it like to be a child in the world’s new education superpowers? The Smartest Kids in the World “gets well beneath the glossy surfaces of these foreign cultures and manages to make our own culture look newly strange....The question is whether the startling perspective provided by this masterly book can also generate the will to make changes” (The New York Times Book Review).

In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they’ve never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy. Inspired to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embed­ded in these countries for one year. Kim, fifteen, raises $10,000 so she can move from Oklahoma to Finland; Eric, eighteen, trades his high-achieving Minnesota suburb for a booming city in South Korea; and Tom, seventeen, leaves a historic Pennsylvania village for Poland.

Through these young informants, Ripley meets battle-scarred reformers, sleep-deprived zombie students, and a teacher who earns $4 million a year. Their stories, along with groundbreaking research into learning in other cultures, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these countries had many “smart” kids a few decades ago. Things had changed. Teaching had become more rigorous; parents had focused on things that mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education.
The education system in the United States is continually challenged to adapt and improve, in part because its mission has become far more ambitious than it once was. At the turn of the 20th century, less than one-tenth of students enrolled were expected to graduate from high school. Today, most people expect schools to prepare all students to succeed in postsecondary education and to prosper in a complex, fast-changing global economy. Goals have broadened to include not only rigorous benchmarks in core academic subjects, but also technological literacy and the subtler capacities known as 21st-century skills.

To identify the most important measures for education and other issues and provide quality data on them to the American people, Congress authorized the creation of a Key National Indicators System (KNIS). This system will be a single Web-based information source designed to help policy makers and the public better assess the position and progress of the nation across a wide range of areas. Identifying the right set of indicators for each area is not a small challenge. To serve their purpose of providing objective information that can encourage improvement and innovation, the indicators need to be valid and reliable but they also need to capture the report committee's aspirations for education.

This report describes a workshop, planned under the aegis of the Board on Testing and Assessment and the Committee on National Statistics of the National Research Council. Key National Education Indicators is a summary of the meeting of a group with extensive experience in research, public policy, and practice. The goal of the workshop was not to make a final selection of indicators, but to take an important first step by clearly identifying the parameters of the challenge.

Assessments, understood as tools for tracking what and how well students have learned, play a critical role in the classroom. Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards develops an approach to science assessment to meet the vision of science education for the future as it has been elaborated in A Framework for K-12 Science Education (Framework) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These documents are brand new and the changes they call for are barely under way, but the new assessments will be needed as soon as states and districts begin the process of implementing the NGSS and changing their approach to science education.

The new Framework and the NGSS are designed to guide educators in significantly altering the way K-12 science is taught. The Framework is aimed at making science education more closely resemble the way scientists actually work and think, and making instruction reflect research on learning that demonstrates the importance of building coherent understandings over time. It structures science education around three dimensions - the practices through which scientists and engineers do their work, the key crosscutting concepts that cut across disciplines, and the core ideas of the disciplines - and argues that they should be interwoven in every aspect of science education, building in sophistication as students progress through grades K-12.

Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards recommends strategies for developing assessments that yield valid measures of student proficiency in science as described in the new Framework. This report reviews recent and current work in science assessment to determine which aspects of the Framework's vision can be assessed with available techniques and what additional research and development will be needed to support an assessment system that fully meets that vision. The report offers a systems approach to science assessment, in which a range of assessment strategies are designed to answer different kinds of questions with appropriate degrees of specificity and provide results that complement one another.

Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards makes the case that a science assessment system that meets the Framework's vision should consist of assessments designed to support classroom instruction, assessments designed to monitor science learning on a broader scale, and indicators designed to track opportunity to learn. New standards for science education make clear that new modes of assessment designed to measure the integrated learning they promote are essential. The recommendations of this report will be key to making sure that the dramatic changes in curriculum and instruction signaled by Framework and the NGSS reduce inequities in science education and raise the level of science education for all students.

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