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School Achievement: Thinking about What to Test

Edward Haertel and Robert Calfee
Journal of Educational Measurement
Vol. 20, No. 2, [Linking Achievement Testing] (Summer, 1983), pp. 119-132
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1434660
Page Count: 14
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School Achievement: Thinking about What to Test
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Abstract

If school achievement tests are to be instructionally valid, they should reflect the goals of the curriculum. This paper begins with a historical review of the relation between achievement tests and curriculum programs, and then turns to the question of the sources of curricular goals. The conclusion is that content specialists are best qualified to specify the content structure, kinds of attainments, and standards that define competence in a curricular area. In the secondary school, the curriculum is founded in the traditional academic disciplines, but the so-called "basic skills" of the elementary school lack any such disciplinary base. The specification of instructional intents is next considered from the perspective of modern cognition psychology, the conclusion being that the educational psychologist can offer new ways of formulating the content specialist's educational goals, so as to encompass the organization and use of information as well as its short-term accumulation. Several applications of cognitive psychology to test design are briefly noted.

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