Postmodern Test Theory (2014) by Robert J. Mislevy

Postmodern Test Theory (2014) by Robert J. Mislevy (University of Maryland, College Park)

If we were to look at a functional definition of professional teacher practice in the future, the practice would include the goals in the following quote and in gaining the trust of the public.

The full article may be accessed at: Teachers College Record Volume 116 Number 11, 2014, p. 1-24 

The following quote is under the section titled: RAPPROCHEMENT

Good teachers have always relied on a wider array of means to learn about how the students in their classes are doing and to help plan further learning. Alongside the tests and quizzes they design and score under the mental measurement paradigm, they also use evidence from projects, work in class, conversations with and among students, and the like—all combined with additional information about the students, the schooling context, and what the students are working on. Teachers call these “informal” assessments, in contrast with the “formal” assessments typified by large-scale standardized tests.

The stark contrast between formal and informal assessment arises because to understand students’ learning and further guide it, teachers need information intimately connected with what their students are working on, and they interpret this evidence in light of everything else they know about their students and their instruction. The power of informal assessment resides in these connections. Good teachers implicitly exploit the principles of cognitive psychology, broadening the universe of discourse to encompass local information and address the local problem at hand. Yet precisely because informal assessments are thus individuated, neither their rationale nor their results are easily communicated beyond the classroom. Standardized tests do communicate efficiently across time and place—but by so constraining the universe of discourse that the messages often have little direct utility in the classroom.

The challenge now facing neopragmatic postmodern test theory is to devise assessments that, in various ways, incorporate and balance the strengths of formal and informal assessments by capitalizing on an array of methodological, technological, and conceptual developments.

This entry was posted in Comment by Dr. Charles Bickenheuser. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dr. Charles Bickenheuser

My research focus is in cognitive language and leadership. My background includes classical philosophy, linguistics, and American authors of short stories, essays and poems. Finally, my doctorate is in education and my methodology is phenomenology and mixed method. I am retired from the active classroom; a long time ago I served as a medical sergeant in an airborne unit in Vietnam for two years.

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