More Proof That Test Scores Aren't A Good Measure Of Student Intelligence

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Photo: sean dreilinger on flickr

Standardized test measurement errors are twice as bad as reported, lending traction to the argument that they’re not a good metric for student achievement. Teacher effectiveness, knowledge deterioration and school environment can all affect how students perform on the tests, according to the new study by researchers at Stanford University, University of Virginia, University of Albany and the centre of Policy Research. 

Current test scores fail to account for day-to-day differences in student achievement, the researchers said. They studied maths and language arts scores for New York City middle schoolers.

Accounting for differences in students “can yield meaningful improvements in the precision of student achievement and achievement-gain estimates,” the researchers said. 

The city’s standardized testing practices were also called into question in a recent New York Times column that highlighted two schools in the Bronx. Located only blocks apart, one school received an A on its report card, while the other one received an F. 

The scores were based on one group of students answering a few more test questions correctly.

Here’s a chart showing the error measured by testing companies (dotted line) compared with what researchers in the study found: 

chart nyc schools


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