• 19 May 2024
The Life, Death & Woes of America’s Standardized Tests

The Life, Death & Woes of America’s Standardized Tests

Jan 11, 2018

They may be the bane of students everywhere and a boon for tutors, but for the professionals who design them, standardized tests are a labor of love - and a lot of effort.

American students take on average eight tests a year – that’s a lot of questions!

One question that’s likely not on students’ minds when they’re under the pump is just how those tests were made in the first place.

To describe the life cycle of a standardized test, EdSurge sat down for a fascinating behind-the-scenes chat with psychometrician Mark Moulton, whose firm, Educational Data Systems, writes tests for California state as well as local school districts.

First, a state adopts academic standards, then hires a firm like Moulton’s to build a test. It’s a process of refinement, he explains, using the human eye and advanced computer algorithms (that’s the psychometrics part) to weed out any bias: for instance, “question[s] where boys are likely to know the answer, but girls are not.”

Moulton holds out hope for the future of “adaptive testing,” where computer-based tests match questions to students’ actual skill levels based on how they answered previous questions. He also laments the “big problem” of limiting standardized testing to math and reading. That, he says, denies students “the full-rounded exposure that they really need to grow.”

No doubt millions of exam-weary students wholeheartedly agree.

banner image from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-01-10-can-a-test-ever-be-fair-how-today-s-standardized-tests-get-made

Can a Test Ever Be Fair? How Today’s Standardized Test Get Made https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-01-10-can-a-test-ever-be-fair-how-today-s-standardized-tests-get-made

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