Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are we giving standardized tests a bad wrap?

When it comes to assessments, there are a couple words that typically come to mind when determining their overall value.

The first word is reliability. Assessment reliability is defined as the degree to which an assessment or assessment tool produces stable and consistent results.

The second word is validity. Assessment validity is defined as the accuracy of the assessment when it comes to actually measuring what it's supposed to measure.

So, if we can agree upon these two definitions, then let's talk about the types of assessments our students do:

Type 1: Standardized state and federal-level mandated assessments

Type 2: Assessments that are a part of a purchased or canned program

Type 3: Assessments that are designed by the district and used consistently across grade levels and/or departments (common assessments)

Type 4: Assessments that are designed by individual teachers and used just for their individual classes and/or students

So, here is the million dollar question... when it comes to the four types of assessments that are most typically used in schools, and based on the agreed upon definitions, which of the four types do you believe are the most reliable and most valid?

Which assessments produce the most stable and consistent results?

Which assessments can we confidently say measure what they are actually intended to measure?

Which assessments have went through a vetting process to limit bias and ensure standard alignment?

Which assessments have had multiple sets of reviewers and multiple versions before being pushed into circulation?

Which assessments have been designed and created by folks who create and design assessments for a living?

Which assessments allow for apples to apples comparison and consistency across communities?

Are we giving standardized tests a bad wrap or should we consider some of the positives and strengths that naturally emerge as part of the standardized testing process?

Just a few marbles rolling around in my head right now...