popham36666635 - All About Assessment W. James Popham...

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90 E DUCATIONAL L EADERSHIP/MARCH 2009 D iagnosis consists of identifying the nature of an illness or other problem through the examination of relevant symptoms. In education, a diagnostic test helps identify a student’s learning problems so teachers can pro- vide instruction to remedy those problems. But do such tests actually exist? In fact, few legitimate diagnostic tests currently roam the education landscape. Legitimate diag- nostic tests supply the sort of evidence that teach- ers need to make defensible instructional decisions. Students’ performances on those tests let teachers know what cognitive skills or bodies of knowledge students are having trouble with. Legitimate di- agnostic tests, therefore, are patently practical. Although they don’t tell teachers how to carry out instruction to rectify deficits in students’ achievement—that’s where teachers’ pedagogical prowess takes center stage—they do let teachers know what must be fixed. If they don’t, they’re not legitimate. Then there are the pseudodiagnostic tests. Scads of these are peddled by commercial ven- dors who recognize that desperate educators will do almost anything to dodge an impending ac- countability cataclysm. And this “almost any- thing” includes buying tests that promise to help a teacher raise test scores—even if they don’t.
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This note was uploaded on 10/07/2009 for the course EDP 351 taught by Professor East during the Spring '09 term at West Chester.

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popham36666635 - All About Assessment W. James Popham...

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