Some inconvenient truths about educational assessment: We need it but it’s always wrong

2017-12-09T02:50:12Z (GMT) by Gavin Brown
This is a paper presented at the Education University of Hong Kong in December 2017. <div>Published abstract</div><div>Assessment in the form of testing and examination has long dominated educational practice with substantial consequences attached to high quality performance (e.g.,graduation,promotion,certification,scholarship,etc.). It has also been long presumed that assessments are accurate indicators of quality in a student’s learning, a teacher’s instruction, and an institution’s education.</div><div><div>However, increasing emphasis has been put on the use of additional and alternative assessment methods and on using assessments formatively to improve student learning, teacher instruction, and institutional outcomes.</div><div>Yet, evidence shows us that these goals are difficult to attain largely because of human and social factors and conditions that interact with our best efforts at high-quality assessment. Although good assessment can offer some protection from charlatans, it turns out our testing and our interactive assessments are unsurprisingly error-prone. Nonetheless, an open society persists by pursuing insights from assessments carefully and with attention to the plausibility that we could be wrong about educational processes and outcomes.</div></div>