Tests, Testing, and Genuine School Reformby Herbert J. Walberg
In the past several decades, costs of public schools have steadily and substantially risen, yet student achievement has remained stagnant. In response, schools, school districts, states, and the federal government are adapting a framework of “standards-assessment-accountability,” and achievement tests play a central role in determining what students… See more details below
In the past several decades, costs of public schools have steadily and substantially risen, yet student achievement has remained stagnant. In response, schools, school districts, states, and the federal government are adapting a framework of “standards-assessment-accountability,” and achievement tests play a central role in determining what students have learned during a given period. They allow educators to assess the progress of students, to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and, in response, to plan curriculum and teaching revisions. They allow parents to objectively monitor their children’s learning and similarly help them solve their problems and intensify pursuit of their studies. And they inform citizens and legislators about the schools’ achievement progress in the light of how much is spent in schools and on what activities it is spent.
In this book, world-renowned education expert Herbert J. Walberg draws from current research on tests and their use to inform citizens, educators, and policy makers about well-established principles of testing, current problems, and promising evidence-based solutions. He explains the central considerations in developing and evaluating good tests and tells how tests can best be used, covering such topics as using tests for student incentives, paying teachers for performance, and the use of tests to attain new state and national standards. To minimize mistaken policies and practices, the book also describes testing technology to enable readers to evaluate and make better use of tests. And because valid tests cannot be developed without clear, specific standards, one chapter is devoted to discussing standards and how they should determine the plans and development of tests and testing.
In view of the continuing test and testing problems, the last chapter argues that, to better achieve accountability, K–12 education should become more businesslike. Like the boards of business firms that employ independent accounting and auditing firms, the development, administration, scoring, and reporting test results should be conducted independently of those school authorities who have been unable to develop technically sound standardized tests, employ them effectively, or hold themselves accountable to the public.
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