Assessment: Beyond the experts

Assessment can be a daunting topic,’ begins the introduction to a new collection of online essays written by psychometrician Lloyd Bond and published by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. ‘It comes with a whole raft of technical terms and concepts, and with debates and dilemmas that have occupied experts for decades now.’ Bond, who served as senior advisor to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards from 1997-2002, sets out to “demystify assessment and open up discussion in fresh ways” by exploring the essential question: What can assessment tell us (and not) about the quality of teaching and learning?

Our TLN colleague Renee Moore, a former Carnegie Scholar and now a member of the CFAT Board of Trustees, celebrates the appearance of Bond’s short essay series in her TLN blog TeachMoore. Renee writes that while Bond has published widely on research issues in psychometrics, and is called upon to advise many test developers, “he is also one of the most persistent and incisive critics of the testing movement. In the world of educational testing, Lloyd Bond is unquestionably a ‘critical friend’.”

Here’s a summary of Bond’s essay topics. Visit the CFAT indexand click on any essay title to read it online (and take advantage of embedded links to other resources). You can also leave comments for Bond and other visitors.

Toward A Signature Assessment for Liberal Education
Bond calls for an assessment that captures the vision of liberal education—an assessment challenge that may be the most important in higher education today.

The Think-Aloud Protocol: A High Yield/Low Stakes Assessment
To combat the performance pattern of high grades/low test scores, Bond shares a powerful assessment technique that offers educators insights into their students’ thinking and allows teachers to reflect back on their classroom practices.

Aptitude, Ability, and Achievement
Bond argues that while the constructs of aptitude, ability and achievement can be difficult to measure, they have real implications for how educators approach their craft.

Coaching and Test Validity
Bond directs our attention to commercial “coaching” schools, used by students seeking a competitive advantage in college admissions tests, and calls for research into the validity of these students’ test results by examining three possible coaching outcomes.

Fires and Eternity
In the era of high-stakes testing and strict teacher accountability, Bond reminds us that assessments of teaching only tell part of the student learning story.

A Little Test Theory
Bond argues that the Classical Test Theory Model, used to analyze tests for the greater part of the twentieth century, is more about errors of measurement than true scores.

Predicting Complex Performance
To better predict a student’s performance in college or on the job, Bond argues a test must do more than assess a single construct.

Toward a Framework for the Assessment of Integrative Learning
Bond outlines the key characteristics that a good assessment of integrative learning should possess.

Is There a Deep Structure to Teaching?
Bond considers the “surface features” that characterize particular teaching environments and discusses their effect on determining teaching excellence.

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