Reading Reflection #7: Standardized Tests, Measures of Central Tendency, Test-Preparation Practices

Ch13 p. 332 # 1: If you had to use only one of the three individual student interpretation schemes treated in the chapter (percentiles, grade-equivalent scores, and scale scores), which one would it be? Why did you make that choice?

I would probably choose to use the percentiles because it does not just look at numbers, but also compares the results to the scores of similar students. I usually do not like when people are put inside boxes, but I think that it would it would be helpful to analyze the reliability of a test that I am giving to my students. Percentiles would help me compare the results of different norm groups, and make sure that I do not have any existing bias within a test.

#2: It is sometimes argued that testing companies and state departments of education adopt scale-score reporting methods simply to make it more difficult for everyday citizens to understand how well students perform. Do you think there’s any truth in that criticism?

I think that there could be truth in this criticism, but I hope that it is false. After reading through the explanation of what scale scores are, I completely understand how easily they can be misinterpreted. On the other hand, I like how they represent levels of difficulty. This type of student interpretation scheme gives educators the chance to track student progress. I think that in education, there is more and more flexibility for individual student growth. The scale scores fit this trend and provide an opportunity to be a powerful assessment tool. All this is to say that yes, there is great opportunity for misuse of scale-score reporting methods. However, there is also great opportunity for testing companies and state departments of education to use scale score testing to better represent student learning.

Ch14 p. 350 # 1: Can you think of guidelines, other than the two described in the chapter, to be used in evaluating a classroom teacher’s test-preparation practices? If so, what are they?

I might add that no test-preparation practice should favor one student over another in assistance. I think that this is automatically a truth that teachers ethically live by, but it is also a good reminder. I could easily see some teachers wanting to help certain students and give them an extra push to get them ready for a test. The reason for this is because so many teachers see the potential in students and so badly want them to reach that potential. Teachers might rationalize their actions of giving extra direction to certain students when they need to instead allow students to accomplish tests on their own.

#2: Can you think of any other sorts of test-preparation guidelines that are meaningfully different from the five described in the chapter? If so, using the chapter’s two evaluative guidelines or any new ones you might prefer, how appropriate are such test-preparation practices?

Since most high school classes involve note taking, I think that a test preparation based off of students’ class notes would be meaningful. This would provide a challenge because it would mean that students have to take correct notes, but I believe that teachers should be giving instruction on how to do so anyway. To help guide students in the right direction, teachers could give the class an outline of the subjects that will be covered in the test. The students could then create a study guide from the notes that they already have, and put into action the knowledge that they have been learning. I think that this would fit well in the evaluative preparation practices because it would be drawing from classroom content that has already been directed towards the curricular aim of the class. As long as the teacher has taught within the guidelines of professional ethics, the students’ notes would be quite appropriate.

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