Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Educational assessment - Knowing What Students Know

Today I started reading the book "Knowing What Students Know", which was produced by the Committee on the Foundations of Assessment under the charge of the National Research Council. I want (need) to expand my horizons regarding emerging conceputalizations of educational assessment, especially those grounded in recent developments in cognitive science and psychometrics. I'm only a few chapters into the book, but the applied psychometrician in me resonated to one passage in particular. I pass it along for your consumption, reflection, etc.
  • "Educators assess students to learn about what they know and can do, but assessments do not offer a direct pipeline into a student's mind. Assessing educational outcomes is not as straightforward as measuring height or weight; the attributes to be measured are mental representations and processes that are not outwardly visible. One must therefore draw inferences about what students know and can do on the basis of what one sees them say, do, or make in a handful of particular situations. What a student knows and what one observes a student doing are not the same thing. The two can be connected only through a chain of inference, which involves reasoning from what one knows and observes to form explanations, conclusions, or predictions, as discussed in the following section. Assessment users always reason in the presence of uncertainty; as a result, the information produced by an assessment is typically incomplete, inconclusive, and amenable to more than one explanation" (p. 42)
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should be looking forward to the chapter by Brian Junker. It's totally excellent, providing the reader with a conceptual insight into sophisticated IRT modeling.

I like your blog, btw! As an intelligence researcher and psychometrician, this is what I want to read about!

T. Kuhn
University of Muenster