Journal article

Arguing about the effectiveness of assessments for the classroom


Published in:

The Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 61

By: Garron Gianopulos


Approaches to test score use and test purpose lack the well-developed methodological guidelines and established sources of evidence available for intended score interpretation. We argue in this paper that this lack fails to reflect the ultimate purpose of a test score—to help solve an important problem faced by intended test users. We explore the treatment of intended test purpose and test score use under the chain of assumption/inferences perspective identified within an argument-based approach to validity. Next, we revisit the notion of test score use and argue that, at least for classroom assessments based on complex constructs, such as learning progressions in math and science, test score use can be more effectively conceptualized as part of a potential solution to solving a problem, or “job-to-be-done.”. We argue for shifting from the definition of validity to the concept of effectiveness. Finally, we illustrate an argument- based approach to test score effectiveness by contrasting effectiveness arguments for interim assessments based on a conventional test blueprint or a test blueprint augmented with learning progressions.

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