The Tests Are Too Narrow
- Standardized tests depend on the idea that a small portion of a student’s behavior fairly represents the whole range of possible behavior. To draw valid inferences from a test, it must cover more than a small part of the content domain. If you have a large number of students, overall outcomes on different versions of a test should even out. But any one student can go from proficient on one version to needing remediation on another. Items are chosen to spread out the scores of the test takers. Time limits spread out scores even more. Life isn’t like a quiz show. As students can only sit and focus for so long, the tests can only deal with a small fraction of the domain. Some topics have to be skipped. Timed tests also produce test anxiety. Beware of timed tests.
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