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Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us
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Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  11 reviews
How do you judge the quality of a school, a district, a teacher, a student? By the test scores, of course. Yet for all the talk, what educational tests can and can't tell you, and how scores can be misunderstood and misused, remains a mystery to most. The complexities of testing are routinely ignored, either because they are unrecognized, or because they may be--well, comp ...more
Hardcover, 353 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Harvard University Press
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What my local school district doesn't understand about educational testing could fill a book. Oh wait! It does!

Harvard Professor and Psychometrician (measurer of abilities or intelligence) Koretz tells us why we shouldn't take standardized educational testing nearly as seriously as we do. There's nothing wrong with testing, as long as we know its limitations. Testing is fraught with pitfalls, and believing that standard test results are the be-all end-all measure of a good education will lead yo
It's educational, but not very engagingly written - a handful of entertaining anecdotes aside, my eyes glazed over every few sentences, and the desire to skip ahead was ever-increasing (much like high-stakes test scores, ha!)

Also, he never really looks some possible counterarguments to many of his points*, such as e.g. using subcomponents of a single test to measure different bits of achievement - so you have a few straight-up arithmetic problems to see if they know arithmetic, and then a more c
An incredibly readable view of standardized testing and the need for careful use of scores and tests to give a true (rather than politically popular) view of student learning in the U.S. Each chapter covers a different testing difficulty - like bias or accomodations for students with disabilities - and sneaks in some test-creator vocab and some really simple analogies to make things clear. Koretz is not an anti-test zealot, just a Ed prof trying to point out the positives and negatives in testin ...more
Amanda Itliong
Everyone seems to be obsessed with test scores so this is a great read for anyone interested in education. Actually it's a must read for anyone who wants to be able to speak intelligently about educational testing. The more you know about this topic you more you realize that almost everyone talking about it doesn't know much. I took Koretz's class at HGSE 9 years ago about this topic (loved it!) and I read the book last year and it was a great reminder of the complexities of testing, problems wi ...more
Insightful and very fair-minded book on the ins and outs of educational testing. "Measuring Up" is also as readable a book on testing as you'll encounter. Koretz is a clear writer who is adept at explaining very complex topics in understandable terms. I can't say I enjoyed this book but I can say I learned a lot and recommend to anyone who wants to think more deeply about current debates about how testing and accountability.

One could say the author is "pro-testing" in the sense that he makes his
Chapter 10 (Inflation of Test Scores) gives the best evidence I have ever encountered about the effects of high-stakes testing on the selection of subject matter taught (teaching to the test). When a school begins using a particular test, scores rise during the next few years. If the school switches to another achievement test, scores drop.

"...students replace mastery of material emphasized by the old test with mastery of material emphasized by the new one, not really reaching a higher level of
Dan is a wonderful teacher...I took his class in grad school, and found myself pining for lectures and powerpoints as I read the book. Unfortunately, most of the concepts are better explained graphically rather than in narrative form. The medium just isn't suited to this topic.
This is a great introduction to assessment and measurement in education. I just have too many awesome novels to read for this book to keep my attention.
Anyone who claims to be data-driven or data-informed needs to read this book. It's an eye opener. One of my key sources in my dissertation.
Dec 09, 2009 Katie added it
I feel a bit more vindicated about greatly disliking the WASL, SAT, and GRE, et al.
Dana King
I wish all professors could write as well as Prof. Koretz.
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