Buros-Nebraska Series on Measurement and Testing


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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).


Copyright © 1993 by Buros Institute of Mental Measurements. Digital edition copyright © 2012 Buros Center for Testing. This book may be downloaded, saved, and printed by an individual for their own use. No part of this book may be re-published, re-posted, or redistributed without written permission of the holder of copyright.


There has been a long history of concern about the quality of student assessments and their use by educators, and rightly so. Test scores, grades, informal measurements, and other forms of assessment typically have been weighted heavily in decisions about students, programs, and policies. Malpractice in student assessment can have detrimental and irreversible consequences affecting human lives and school programs. Assessment is defined here as the process of obtaining information that is used to make educational decisions about students; to give feedback to students about their progress, strengths, and weaknesses; to judge instructional effectiveness and curricular adequacy; and to inform policy.

The National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) studied the feasibility of credentialing measurement experts in education, and concluded that because the practice of measurement and assessment is so pervasive in education and takes on so many different forms, it would be much too costly to develop credentialing procedures for every type of assessment practice (Sanders, 1987). As an alternative, the NCME undertook the development of standards of assessment competence for major practitioner roles in education: classroom teachers, school administrators, counselors, testing directors, curriculum specialists, and others. In 1987 the NCME invited three other professional associations to collaborate on the development of standards for classroom teachers, the largest practitioner group and the one that uses student assessments most frequently. Similar collaborative projects, focused on other educational practitioners, are expected to follow.

The collaborators on the teacher standards were three associations directly involved in the preparation and professional development of classroom teachers: the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the National Education Association (NEA). The report of this project was published in 1990.

In the remainder of this chapter we will review selected literature on teacher preparation in student assessment: (a) how classroom teachers use measurement and student assessments in the classroom, (b) what experts have said teachers need to know about measurement and student assessment, and (c) the status of training prospective teachers in student assessment. We will then describe the standards developed by the four collaborating associations, and conclude with a brief discussion of work that still needs to be done to improve the quality of student assessments and their use in education.