The Assessment of Science Meets the Science of Assessment

Summary of a Workshop

Board on Testing and Assessment

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.



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The Assessment of Science Meets the Science of Assessment Summary of a Workshop Board on Testing and Assessment Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C.

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NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Science by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. The study was supported by contract number ESI-935-5774 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-06546-1 Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418 Call (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) This report is also available on line at http://www.nap.edu Printed in the United States of America Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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Board on Testing and Assessment Richard J. Shavelson (Chair), School of Education, Stanford University Laurie J. Bassi (Vice Chair), American Society for Training and Development, Alexandria, Virginia Robert L. Linn (Vice Chair), School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder Richard C. Atkinson, President, University of California, Oakland Iraline G. Barnes, The Superior Court of the District of Columbia David C. Berliner, College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe Paul J. Black, School of Education, King's College, London Richard P. Durán, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara Christopher F. Edley, Jr., Harvard Law School, Harvard University Richard Elmore, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University Arthur S. Goldberger, Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin, Madison Paul W. Holland, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley Carl F. Kaestle, Department of Education, Brown University Michael W. Kirst, School of Education, Stanford University Alan M. Lesgold, Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh Kenneth Pearlman, Lucent Technologies, Inc., Warren, New Jersey Paul R. Sackett, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Alan H. Schoenfeld, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley William L. Taylor, Attorney at Law, Washington, D.C. Ewart A.C. Thomas, Department of Psychology, Stanford University Jack Whalen, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Palo Alto, California Michael J. Feuer, Director Viola C. Horek, Administrative Associate Membership as of the dates of the workshop summarized in this report.

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Acknowledgments A great many people contributed to the success of this workshop, which brought together experts on science content and pedagogy and experts in educational measurement and evaluation. The Board would like to thank the presenters and discussants for their contributions to a lively and productive conference (see the agenda in Appendix A for complete list). In addition, we would like to acknowledge the contributions of the researchers who displayed posters and presented demonstrations of their work, which enriched the whole workshop. We are very grateful to the National Science Foundation, which, through the Education and Human Resources Directorate, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Board's work and of this conference in particular. Special thanks are due to board members Paul Black and Richard Shavelson for their help in conceiving, planning, and chairing this workshop. Staff member Kathy Guidroz deserves recognition for her efforts; thanks also to Senta Raizen and Nancy Carson, who served as consultants to the project. A number of staff contributed to the writing of this summary report, including Marilyn Dabady, Patricia Morison, and Naomi Chudowsky. We also wish to thank Nancy Kober and Robert Crossgrove for editorial help. Board director Michael Fetter offered his guidance and leadership to the project. Jan Liverance, Kimberly Saldin, and Viola Horek provided excellent administrative support. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Joan Herman, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing and Center for the Study of Evaluation, University of California, Los Angeles; Alan Lesgold, Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh; Michael E. Martinez, Department of Education, University of California, Irvine; Leona

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Schauble, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin; and James Shymansky, Regional Institute for Science Education, University of Missouri, St. Louis While the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, it must be emphasized that responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring board and the institution.

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Contents     Overview   1     Innovative Forms of Science Assessment   4     Designing and Using Innovative Assessments   10     Assessments for Classroom Improvement   16     Assessments for Accountability and Systemic Reform   21     Conclusion   28 Appendix A:   Conference Agenda and Participants   29 Appendix B:   Publications of the Board on Testing and Assessment   37

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