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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Testing Dangers

Yet another troubling story about testing and testing flaws. This from an article that appeared in the NY Times about an international test (which I had never heard of) that is given to students worldwide (including US students) that had not been proofread...by anybody. The pages were numbered incorrectly and students had been directed to "the question on page X" rather than the opposite page. From the article:

"The problem came on a test known as the Program for International Student Assessment that allows students’ proficiency to be compared with that of their international peers. It was administered to 5,600 American 15-year-olds last fall, as well as to students in the 30 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and in 27 less developed countries. Scores are scheduled for release next month."

It's serious because:

“We need to recognize that the testing industry is under immense pressure at a time when scores are being given immense importance,” said Thomas Toch, who wrote a report last year detailing the problems of the American testing industry for Education Sector, an independent policy group, where he is a co-director.

Conducted every three years, the international test focused on science literacy in 2006, but also included sections on reading and math. The problem with last fall’s test was that pages in the exam booklet were assigned incorrect numbers. As a result, questions referred students to texts, said to be “on the opposite page,” but in reality printed on a previous page."

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