3. Manufacturing, like all aspects of technology, has had significant impacts on society, and not all of these have been anticipated or welcome. Innovations in manufacturing in the past quarter-century have included the use of robotics, automation, and computers. Using examples from only one manufacturing sector, describe some of the positive and negative impacts these manufacturing innovations have had on life in the United States.

Case 2:
Matrix-Sample Assessment of 7th Graders

Description and Rationale

Case 2 involves a matrix-sample-based assessment of the technological literacy of 7th graders throughout the United States. Sample-based assessments differ from other types of assessments in that individual scores are rarely, if ever, reported. Instead, the focus is on discovering and tracking trends. In this case, one might want to follow the changes over time in the average level of technological literacy of 7th graders. Sampling can also reveal geographic variations, such as state-by-state differences in scores and variations among subgroups, such as gender, race/ethnicity, type of school, population density, poverty level, and other demographic variables, depending on the design of the sample.

In matrix sampling,4 individual students are not tested on all test items. This is done mainly to accommodate the time constraints of test administration. Even though no single student sees every item, every question is administered to a large enough subset of the sample to ensure that the results are statistically valid. Another important feature of a matrix sample is that the large number of questions ensures that all three dimensions of technological literacy are assessed. The assessment described here is similar in structure to assessments conducted through the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).

The rationale for conducting a national, sample-based assessment of students would be to draw public attention to the state of


Matrix sampling is described in more detail in Chapter 4 in the section on Measurement Issues.

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