- Subject: Garbage In
- From: George Sheridan <learn@JPS.NET>
- Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 21:58:29 -0800
- In-reply-to: <3C6740E2.774C9F7C@morton.net>
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
Regarding Erwin's first sentence below, we need to remind everyone of the
first rule of computing--
Garbage In, Garbage Out!
This applies not only to the quality of the assessments, but also to
comparison data based on students' reports of their parents' educational
levels (or on teachers' guesses as to those levels).
At 07:56 PM 2/10/2002 -0800, Erwin Morton wrote:
(a) Too many people think that having a number
calculated by a computer makes it somehow
"objective". Sure, the calculation is objective,
but the choice of what to calculate is not.
(Similar statement about the tests themselves:
the scoring of a bubble test is objective, but
the choice of items is not.)
(b) Too many people confuse the measurement
with the thing they were trying to measure.
Even the API might have some value as a
research tool, as we study how best to mold
our educational system. But it is clearly
false (although widely believed) that the
API (or an Ohio school's pass rate, or the
year-over-year changes in same) somehow
indicates the quality or effectiveness of
what the school and its staff are doing.
You cannot measure a love for learning or a joy of knowledge or a passion
for life. You cannot measure those things with a standardized test but you
can sure kill them.
Bill Harley, singer and poet, as quoted in NPR commentary, June 2001
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