Testing Student Learning, Evaluating Teaching Effectiveness

Testing Student Learning, Evaluating Teaching Effectiveness

Editors: Williamson M. Evers, Herbert J. Walberg
ISBN: 978-0-8179-2982-4
Publication Date: 5/20/2004
Pages: 337

More than ever, parents want to know how their children are achieving and how their children's school ranks compared to others. And even though education experts and some testing experts may disagree, Congress, state legislators, and citizens are increasingly insistent that objective testing and accountability are needed to measure the results of teaching. This book takes a hard look at the professional, technical, and public policy issues surrounding student achievement and teacher effectiveness—the controversial issues that often divide educators from parents and their elected representatives.

The book shows how defective tests and standards and a lack of accountability cause American students to fall behind those of other countries—despite our schools' receiving nearly the world's highest levels of per-student spending. The book takes on common objections to testing, reveals why they are false, and shows how tests can help even in a child's earliest years.

The book also presents several specific constructive uses for tests, including diagnosing children's learning difficulties and procedures for solving them, measuring the impact of curriculum on specific aspects of achievement, and assessing teachers' strengths and weaknesses. The book tells what's wrong—and right—with the NAEP Science and Mathematics Tests and the TIMSS Observational Study. And, in two detailed case studies, authors describe how one state's accountability system failed whereas another state's has worked well. This book ultimately shows that test results can clearly inform educators and students of progress or lack thereof, evaluate the degree to which programs and practices are working, and ultimately play a vital role in improving American schools.


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Herbert J. Walberg

Herbert J. Walberg, a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution and a member of the Koret Task Force on K-12 Education, is a University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on educational productivity and human accomplishments.


Williamson M. Evers

Williamson M. Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a member of the Institution’s Koret Task Force on K–12 Education, specializes in research on education policy especially as it pertains to curriculum, teaching, testing, accountability, and school finance from kindergarten through high school. Evers was the U.S. assistant secretary of education for planning, evaluation, and policy development from 2007 to 2009. He was a senior adviser to U.S. secretary of education Margaret Spellings during 2007. From July to December 2003, Evers served in Iraq as a senior adviser for education to Administrator L. Paul Bremer of the Coalition Provisional Authority.continued

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Introduction and Overview
Williamson M. Evers and Herbert J. Walberg


Part One: Setting the Stage



1. Examinations for Educational Productivity
     Herbert J. Walberg



2. Why Testing Experts Hate Testing
     Richard P. Phelps


Part Two: Constructive Uses of Tests



3. Early Reading Assessment
     Barbara R. Foorman, Jack M. Fletcher, and David J. Francis



4. Science and Mathematics Testing:
    What’s Right and Wrong with
    the NAEP and the TIMSS?
     Stan Metzenberg



5.Telling Lessons from the TIMMS Videotape
     Alan R. Siegel


Part Three: Constructive Tests for Accountability



6. Portfolio Assessment and Education Reform
     Brian Stecher



7. Using Performance Assessment
    for Accountability Purposes
     William A. Mehrens


Part Four: State Testing Policies



8. Learning from Kentucky’s Failed
    Accountability System
     George K. Cunningham



9. Accountability Works in Texas
     Darvin M. Winick and Sandy Kress



Appendix: Conference Agenda








The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, founded at Stanford University in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, who went on to become the thirty-first president of the United States, is an interdisciplinary research center for advanced study on domestic and international affairs. The views expressed in its publications are entirely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff, officers, or Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution.


Hoover Institution Press Publication No. 510

Copyright © 2004 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher.

First printing 2004

11 10 09 08 07 06 05 04 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Manufactured in the United States of America

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements
of the American National Standard for Information Sciences—
Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48–1992.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Testing student learning, evaluating teaching effectiveness /
Williamson M. Evers and Herbert J. Walberg, editors.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8179-2982-7 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. Educational tests and measurements—United States.
2. Educational accountability—United States. 3. Teacher
effectiveness—United States. I. Evers, Williamson M., 1948–
II. Walberg, Herbert J., 1937–

LB3051.T4425 2004




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