Reconciling the Pedagogical Goal and the Measurement Goal of Evaluation: The Perspective of Teachers in the Context of National Standards
by Jacquelien Bos, Nico Verloop, Jan Terwel, Jan Terwel & Wim Wardekker — 2003
The intense conflict about whether standardized tests and national standards are appropriate is related to the goals one ascribes to student evaluation: a measurement goal for selection decisions or a pedagogical goal to support the learning process. This study focuses on how teachers balance these two goals. We interviewed 25 teachers who work in a context in which national standards in the final year are combined with classroom evaluation in the first years. The teachers' perspectives show that both goals can coexist. The national standards cause classroom evaluation to have a measurement function, but many teachers use it to implement a pedagogical goal. Teachers adjust classroom evaluation to encourage better performance in the long run. Referring to the literature, we discuss first whether this practice is appropriate from a pedagogical perspective and then from a measurement perspective. We found that national standards may function as a common reference point when developing a qualitative framework necessary for the interpretive measurement of higher order skills. The side effect of discouraging low achievers is counterbalanced by the use of adjustment strategies to circumvent failing grades. At the same time, national standards counterbalance grade inflation and cause the function of evaluation in stimulating student effort to be retained. This shows that it is possible to reconcile the advantages of the measurement approach and the pedagogical approach to a large extent.
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