- Looking at formative versus summative tests and the psychometrics involved in summative tests, NPR sheds lights on the context of America's testing frenzy.
- Formative tests, NPR explains, are used as check-ins and are not meant to judge success or failure, while summative tests are the test and assess all learning to see if you know it or not.
- Psychometrics (mind measurements) are used to create summative tests and rely on standardization, reliability, and validity to make the tests usable and helpful.
- NPR breaks down the psychometrics, explaining why they can be viewed as an asset for a test used by many but also a curse: The easily coached, multiple choice format, while necessary due to user volume, can lead to ambiguity.
With the nation relying so heavily on summative accountability tests each year, it is helpful that NPR breaks down how the tests are created. Not only does this provide context, but for those arguing for or against accountability testing, it can add vocabulary and evidence to enliven their arguments.
After all of the new information, the article appropriately ends with a "test" question:
Under the federal No Child Left Behind law, passed in 2001, public school accountability has rested largely on the results of psychometrically validated and standardized, largely multiple-choice summativeassessments covering math and English only, given annually in 3rd through 12th grades. Given what you've just read about the strengths and weaknesses of this test format, is it wise to attach so many consequences to their results? State the reasons for your response.