Why Not More Direct Measurement
- Standardized tests are indirect measures of knowledge and skill. The authors cite the road test that new drivers take as a direct measurement of the skill to be accessed. It is a test of performance in the real world built on knowledge judged by a written test. If a system featuring paper-and-pencil tests with performance tests is so good, why don’t schools use it more often? The first reason is the cost of direct measurements like the measurements required by special education laws. We forget that cost and value are not the same. The second is bureaucratic inertia, which simply accepts and builds on past practice. For example, colleges require GRE scores, a supposed predictor of grad school success, for students who already have graduate degrees. Standardized tests may be reliable, but they are not valid measures of performance.
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