The use and misuse of assessment data in test-based accountability systems

The use and misuse of assessment data in test-based accountability systems

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The use and misuse of assessment data in test-based accountability systems

Over the last two decades we have seen a global change in the governance of public education in the aftermath of the introduction of a new, market-driven educational policy inthe early 80s. The Dutch government is increasingly involved in decision-making that directly affects teaching and learning.Important characteristics of these changes are:•, the quality of education is defined in terms of student outcomes,•, the introduction of (national) standards-based curricula and instruction,•, data driven, test-based accountability•, the introduction of national tests in primary, vocational and higher education.Performance- and test-based accountability systems tend to focus on students and schools failing to meet required levels of performance. There is a growing concern among testdevelopers about the quality of high stakes decisions in this context that are, in many cases, ,based on the results of a single exam or test. Although the field of educational testing has emphasised over and over that judgements about student performance, teacher effectiveness or the quality of schools should be based on multiple measures, this principle seems to be largely ignored by the media and by policy makers. In this paper we will explore ways in ,which Cito tries to limit the misuse of assessment data in order to maintain the credibility of ,performance-based accountability.

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