Date of this Version
Published in Teacher Training in Measurement and Assessment Skills, edited by Steven L. Wise (Lincoln, NE: Buros Institute of Mental Measurements, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 1993).
Teacher knowledge about measurement, testing practices, and what teachers should be taught have been recurrent topics of concern in the past two and a half decades. Conant (1963) first captured measurement professionals' interest with his book The Education of American Teachers. That book stimulated a National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) symposium regarding the implications of his recommendations for measurement instruction. Papers presented at the meeting were published in the first volume of the Journal of Educational Measurement (JEM). Thus, in a sense, the issue before us is one of the most enduring in the NCME organization.
Since that initial volume of the JEM, the issues confronting us today have surfaced repeatedly. Work by the authors Goslin (1967), Mayo (1964, 1967), and Rudman et a1. (1980) stands as perhaps the most significant early efforts. Goslin and Mayo tended (a) to highlight the importance of teaching teachers about testing, (b) to define the content emphasized in measurement courses, and (c) to identify the major differences in teachers' and measurement professionals' perceptions regarding what should be emphasized in measurement courses. The review of literature by Rudman et al. in general served to heighten concerns about the measurement practices that take place in the classroom. Their review cites numerous individuals who have argued that teachers are not sufficiently knowledgeable, that the wrong content is being emphasized in teaching teachers, and that measurement specialists are not sufficiently knowledgeable about teacher testing practices. They put the issue in perspective with the following statement:
A troublesome aspect in this area is the paucity of descriptive material compared to the abundance of prescriptive articles, essays and the like dealing with the specifics of how teachers used test results in their classroom. When coupled with the information supplied by Beck and Stetz (in press) concerning the relatively inaccurate perceptions of measurement specialists who write about teacher testing behavior, positive conclusions about how teachers use tests can be only fragile speculations at best. (p. 20)
Since 1980, numerous studies have been conducted. Teachers have been surveyed and interviewed to learn about teacher attitudes and evaluation practices, teachers and students have been observed in the classroom, teacher certification requirements for educational measurement (or lack thereof) have been identified and noted, and professors of educational measurement courses along with elementary and secondary teachers have been surveyed to assess what is and should be taught in these measurement courses.