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Bad Tests or Bad Test Use? A Case of SAT Use to Examine Why We Need Stakeholder Conversations on Validity

by Madhabi Chatterji - 2013

Background: Much is still unknown or unclear about how and where validity issues arise in high stakes testing situations in education, and ways by which we can rectify validity problems in practice and policy contexts.

Purpose: This paper is the Foreword to the Special Section in the Teachers College Record, titled, When Education Measures Go Public – Stakeholder Perspectives on How and Why Validity Breaks Down.

Method: The paper analyzes a recent case involving an application of the SAT® to highlight tensions between validity and test score use in high stakes school accountability environments driven by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. It uses the case study as a vehicle to introduce the individual papers and authors in the section.

Conclusions: There are information and power gaps among those who set societal priorities for using tests for high stakes purposes, those who design and conduct psychometric research on tests and testing programs, and those who could eventually face consequences of assessment misuse. These gaps could be addressed through thoughtful exchanges among key assessment stakeholders, as this special issue shows.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 9, 2013, p. 1-10
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17105, Date Accessed: 4/20/2021 7:49:30 AM

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About the Author
  • Madhabi Chatterji
    Teachers College
    MADHABI CHATTERJI, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Measurement, Evaluation, and Education at Teachers College (TC), Columbia University, where she founded and directs the Assessment and Evaluation Research Initiative (AERI), a center dedicated to promoting meaningful use of assessment and evaluation information, internationally and across disciplines. Her publications lie broadly in assessment and evaluation methodology, specifically, in instrument design and validation/validity, evidence standards and the evidence debate in education and health fields, educational equity, and standards-based educational reforms. She has taught graduate-level, methodology courses at TC for over a decade, and has served as principal investigator, technical adviser, or consultant on a number of national and international panels and sponsored research projects. She just edited the volume, Validity and Test Use: An International Dialogue on Educational Assessment, Accountability and Equity (in press, Emerald, UK). Her earlier research has been recognized by the American Educational Research Association, the Fulbright Commission, and the Florida Educational Research Association. Prior to joining TC, Chatterji was an assistant professor at the University of South Florida, and a supervisor of the Research and Evaluation Services department in the Pasco County School System, Florida. This Special Section of TCR ensued from AERI’s inaugural conference in 2012. See: www.tc.edu/aeri
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