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Are theinfluences from social and political agents beneficial and a necessity in thedevelopment and validation of educational assessments?
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science, Departement of Educational Measurement.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science, Departement of Educational Measurement.
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In order to produce sound and valid tests with respect to the Standards (American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education, 2014) there are a lot of issues to consider and take into account. Especially when developing tests on a national level. In addition, there are often several stakeholders having an ambition to influence the tests in different directions. Sometimes these stakeholders agree, but often their requests are diametrically opposed and it is not unusual that the requests are not in line with a good measurement practice. In the midst are the test developing organisations, commissioned to develop products that are valid in relation to the aim/aims for the test and therefore being developed within a sound measurement practice but also accepted by all users.

 

As described in the theme for the conference this external influence from stakeholders on the tests is immense and sometimes described as only negative. Often there are politicians who uses educational assessments, like national tests or exams, to control the school system on the one hand but on the other hand using the tests to implement changes. At the same time the politicians are sensitive to reactions from the teachers, parents and other stakeholders since they are important groups of voters. In Sweden the debate is at the moment focused on the large number of national tests and the workload they entails to teachers but also students. In a recently published government-appointed inquiry (SOU 2016:25, 2016) it is suggested that the number of national tests should be reduced, that the remaining tests should be less extensive and that the tests should be easier to administer and mark, which probably will affect the validity of the tests.

 

These external influences could, from a test developing perspective, be seen as problematic since it often introduces (rapid) changes of the tests. On the other hand, one could argue that these external influences are necessary prerequisites to have an ongoing process in order to develop the tests so that they become even more cost effective, valid and seen as valuable for the users.

 

We think it would be interesting to discuss this complex system of, on the one hand, social and political agents trying to influence and change the national assessment systems and, on the other hand, the test developing organisations aiming to develop assessments that are valid. But at the same time these organisations are dependent of getting resources from the agents to fulfil the commission, which might affect which changes that are implemented and not.

 

This is a proposal for a discussion group based on the broad question posed as title. Below we have specified some themes that would be interesting to discuss getting perspectives from different countries and testing systems.

 

  • How are the products, i.e. the tests, and the processes developing the tests affected by the influences from different social and political agents?
  • Are there stakeholders having greater impact, and if there are, is it a necessity or a risk? Why How?
  • Finally, is it maybe necessary to have this continuous external validation of the tests in order to develop, strengthen and legitimise them or does it “ruin the work”?
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå, 2016.
Keywords [en]
Swedish natonal tests in science
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-146025OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-146025DiVA, id: diva2:1193352
Conference
The 16th annual AEA-Europé Conference, 3-5th November 2016, Limassol, Cyprus.
Available from: 2018-03-26 Created: 2018-03-26 Last updated: 2018-06-09

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Almarlind, PiaLind Pantzare, Anna

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