The Standardized Testing Primer provides non-specialists with a thorough overview of this controversial and complicated topic. It eschews the statistical details of scaling, scoring, and measurement that are widely available in textbooks and at testing organization Web sites, and instead describes standardized testing's social and political roles and its practical uses-who tests, when, where, and why. Topics include: an historical background of testing's practical uses in psychology, education, and the workplace;...
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The Standardized Testing Primer provides non-specialists with a thorough overview of this controversial and complicated topic. It eschews the statistical details of scaling, scoring, and measurement that are widely available in textbooks and at testing organization Web sites, and instead describes standardized testing's social and political roles and its practical uses-who tests, when, where, and why. Topics include: an historical background of testing's practical uses in psychology, education, and the workplace; the varied structures of educational testing programs and systems across countries; the mechanics of test development and quality assurance; and current trends in test development and administration. A glossary and bibliography are also provided. The Standardized Testing Primer is an ideal text for teaching this subject to undergraduate and graduate students.
Rather than following developers who tout the benefits of standardizing testing or opponents who focus on what they see as failure, independent scholar Phelps explains its social and political implications and practical uses. He explains to non-specialists how and why such tests developed as ways to measure both aptitude and achievement, and how those applications soon diverged. He explains the early effects of testing in education, in which the results were largely ignored, and how educators began to refine and use high-stakes tests in public and higher education for a variety of purposes, including assessment of schools as much as students. He describes how developers create tests and work on quality assurance, and lists the potential risks (such as marginalization of certain groups) and benefits (such as correcting for upward grade drift) of standardized testing. Phelps's list of resources is particularly helpful.
British Journal of Educational Technology
This standardised testing "primer" discusses the practical uses of testing in social and political contexts. It has adequately discussed various tests and assessments like formative and summative assessment; standardised and high-stakes tests; norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests; reliability, validity, and fairness.
This is a short and cute book with no accessories (preface, acknowledgement, list of tables etc). Not wasting any of the reader's time, the author takes us to the world of standardised testing while explaining basic terms of testing in brief introduction. The lists of references and resources (print and non-print) provided at the end of the book would quench the thirst of all researchers for further knowledge on assessment and testing. What adds to the beauty of this primer is explaining any important concept in the left margin and a glossary at the end of the chapters. Although the chapter on aptitude or achievement tests takes into account the American background, the readers of other regions would find the primer equally interesting due to its succinct and direct approach to explaining how to go about standardised testing.
—Ramesh C. Sharma
Phelps also provides a useful test quality checklist to determine if a test is of good quality. If a test is of good quality, then test developers should be able to answer questions such as what is the purpose of the test, is there adequate evidence of validity, assuring that test scores are meaningful, are test scores reliable, with minimal measurement error, and are the conclusions drawn from the test scores fair to all students. This checklist could serve as a guide for schools looking to adopt new programs or assessments within their districts. As a supplement to this book, Phelps provides a well defined list of other primers including some reference books on assessment as well as references and other print resources, and nonprint resources and journals. In conclusion, this book would be beneficial for all teachers, especially new ones, parents, and administrators. Especially helpful, it provides a glossary of terms at the end of each chapter. It will assist readers in understanding the importance of standardized educational testing and improve their ability to interpret and use the results produced by these tests. Furthermore, instructors of educational measurement and evaluation might find this book useful as a supplemental text when covering the topic of standardized testing.
—Melanie L. Shores