Educational Assessment: Tests and Measurements in the Age of Accountability

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Grounded in the real world of public schools and students, this engaging, insightful, and highly readable text introduces the inner-workings of K–12 educational assessment.

There has never been a time when it is more important for educators to have an understanding of testing and assessments. Accountability is now a fact of life for all public school educators, and testing is at the core of all educational assessment programs. It is no longer prudent or even possible for educators to ignore this national zeitgeist.

Educational Assessment: Tests and Measurements in the Age of Accountabilityaddresses all of the constructs central to understanding the design, construction and evaluation of educational measures. It goes on to provide students with insight into the link between today’s high-stakes testing mandates and the traditions of the past 125 years of “scientific” measurement in the United States. It addresses the problem of understanding and correctly interpreting test scores on local, statewide, national, and international assessments. It also addresses how certain issues such as institutionalized cheating, test preparation, and individual differences among students and their families influence test score outcomes.

Key Features

  • Covers traditional topics in an approachable and understandable way: Reliability, validity, performance assessments, standardized achievement tests, and many more topics are included.
  • Analyzes and interprets “hot-button” issues of today’s complex measurement concerns: The score-gap, high-stakes testing, grade retention, drop-out crises, “academic redshirting,”, diversity, family influence, and educational technology, are examined.
  • Relates theory to practice: Each chapter includes relevant real-life examples and case studies to demonstrate how the technical-measurement principles impact those involved.
  • Addresses the needs of diverse students: Issues related to students with special needs and the testing of English Language Learners are discussed.


  • Instructors' Resources on CD-Rom include Power Point slides, Web resources, suggested answers for each chapter’s discussion questions, and a sample syllabus. The CD also includes Brownstone’s Diploma Test Bank software so that instructors can create, customize, and deliver tests. Qualified instructors can contact Customer Care at 1-800-818-SAGE (7243) from 6am - 5pm PT to request a copy.
  • A web-based Student Study Site at provides chapter objectives, flash cards, and practice tests.

Intended Audience: Educational Assessment: Tests and Measurements in the Age of Accountability has been written to meet the needs of students in graduate programs of special education, reading, school counseling, school social work, curriculum supervision, or administration. Providing grounding in all aspects of measurement, this book is perfect for undergraduate and graduate courses such as Educational Tests and Measurements, Assessment in Education, and Student Assessment.

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Editorial Reviews

Randy Nichols
"For one of the only times in my career, and according to my master's students' positive reactions and statements, Wright's text encourages readers to think closely and with high interest about current assessment in education. The book gives educators strong justification and clarification for what they have been thinking about assessment in their classrooms"
Doctor - Stacey Solomon
"This is the best book I’ve found for the Test and Measurements course for school counselors. "
Dr. Stacey Solomon
"This is the best book I’ve found for the Test and Measurements course for school counselors."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412949170
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 12/18/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 664
  • Sales rank: 387,383
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Wright earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in 1966, and began teaching high school science. A few years later in 1969 he earned a Masters degree in school counseling from West Chester University and was employed as a public school counselor, first with high school students and later with middle school students. In 1974 he completed a doctorate (Ph.D.) in Educational Psychology with specializations in child & adolescent development and educational measurement from Temple University. As part of that degree he completed a clinical fellowship in rehabilitation counseling at Moss Hospital, part of the Albert Einstein Medical Center (Philadelphia). Following graduation he completed advanced studies in school psychology at Lehigh University. Professor Wright has taught counseling and supervised counseling interns and has also taught educational measurement, and educational statistics & research for graduate students in counseling. He is a member of the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselor Association, the American Psychological Association (Division 17, counseling psychology), the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, and the American Educational Research Association. He is professionally licensed to practice in Pennsylvania. During his career Professor Wright chaired 114 doctoral dissertations, published and presented over 120 articles and paper presentations and has had four books published.

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Table of Contents

1. Issues and Measurement Practices in the Schools
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Accountability, Assessment, and Testing
Why do we Test?
Types and Varieties of Tests
Assumptions Made by Test Developers
Trends in Testing
Law and Testing
Case Law
Educational Ethics and Testing
Discussion Questions
2. History of Testing in American Education
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Scientific Measurement and Racism
The Next Generation
Single Factor Models
Multiple Factor Models
Contemporary Public Schools
Winds of Change
Discussion Questions
3. The Measurement and Description of Variables
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Central Tendency
Normal Distribution
Variation and Variance
Standard Scores
Discussion Questions
4. Reliability as a Measure of Test Quality
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Internal Consistency
Gains and Losses
Standard Error of Measurement
Factors with an Impact on Reliability
Reliability of Cut Scores
Reliability of Performance Tasks and Criterion Tests
Discussion Questions
5. Validity as a Measure of Test Quality
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Validity: The Traditional Context of Validity
Contemporary View
Comparison Groups
Test Bias and Fairness
Discussion Questions
6. Planning and Constructing Classroom Tests
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Testing and Teaching
Formative Tests
Summative Evaluations
Testing Formats
Discussion Questions
7. Classroom Development and Use of Extended Answer Tests
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Completion or Short Answer
The Essay Test
Essay Test Format
Essay Grading
The SAT Essay Test
Discussion Questions
8. Item Selection and Analysis
Issues and Themes
Classroom Testing
A Priori Qualitative Assessment and Analysis of Tests
Item Difficulty Index
Distracter Analysis
Item Analysis with Constructed or Supply Type Items
Computer Adaptive Testing
Item Response Theory (IRT)
Discussion Questions
9. Performance Assessments
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Assessment and Instruction
Performance Based Assessments
Discussion Questions
10. Grades, Progress Reports, and Report Cards
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Background and History
Purposes of Report Card Grades
Student Grades
Report Card Comments
On-line Report Cards
Report Card Grades for the Gifted
Grades and Students with Special Needs
The Case of Transfer Students
Grade Point Average and Class Rank
Teacher-Parent Conference
Grade Inflation
Promotion and Graduation
Discussion Questions
11. Standardized Measures of Learning
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Explaining Test Scores to Parents
Major Achievement Test Batteries
State Mandated Assessments
Discussion Questions
12. Testing of Aptitude and Selection
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Scholastic Aptitude and Intelligence
Training of Test Administrators
Tests of Intelligence Administered One-on-One
Tests of Intelligence Administered to Groups
Group Administered Aptitude Tests
Assessment of Talented and Gifted Children
Assessment of Aptitude for College Study
Discussion Questions
13. Identification of Learning Problems
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Informal Screening
Instructional Support Team
Referral, Assessment, and the IEP Committee
Assessment Process
Formal Assessments of Attention and Focus
AD/HD Measurement Scales
Assessments of Reading Problems
Early Reading Tests
Assessments of Language and Speech Problems
Measures for the Identification of Problems Learning Mathematics
Individualized Educational Plan
Accommodations for Children with Disabilities
Discussion Questions
14. International, National, and Statewide Testing Programs
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
International Comparisons
Nation’s Report Card
School Assessments
No Child Left Behind
Discussion Questions
15. Student, Family, and Teacher Factors in Test Scores
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Discussion Questions
16. Test Preparation for Successful Schools
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Accountability Angst
Legal and Ethical Requirements
Marginal Ethics
Successful Schools
Classroom Instruction
Architecture and School Design
Discussion Questions
17. Accountability and Evaluation
Issues and Themes
Learning Objectives
Evaluation Overview
Systematic Program Evaluation
Steps in a Systematic Evaluation
Value-added Evaluation
Discussion Questions
About the Author

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