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I see two arguments in favour of retaining extensive automated testing - one that I consider to be invalid, and one that is somewhat valid.

The invalid argument is the classic “reliability and validity” arguments from educational measurement and test theory. The argument is that automated tests are a fair judge of a student’s ability, whereas the kind of assessment needed for the types of learning described above will be subjective and unreliable. For now I won’t dispute the second part of this argument, but in terms of fairness arising from reliability of automated assessment, there is a fundamental problem with this argument that is rarely discussed.

Educational measurement, if it is to be valid, needs to meet the requirements of “scientific” or true measurement. Scientific measurement requires that the underlying attribute being measured (in this case a student’s ability in a particular area) is quantitative (like length) and not qualitative (like colour). For an attribute to be quantitative, it is not simply a matter of assigning numerals to things, rather, a scientific study to investigate whether or not the underlying attribute has the “structure” required for something to be quantitative needs to be conducted.

For something like length, this is easy to establish, as we can compare and add lengths. For other attributes (such as density, or potentially educational abilities), we can’t add objects/people together, but we can potentially order them. The discovery of conjoint measurement provides a method of testing ordered structures to see if they are also quantitative.

So if one applies the rigorous requirements of scientific measurement to educational scores, what do we find? Well, when I last looked into this field deeply*, there was no robust evidence that educational measurement is quantitative. If this is the case, then we can’t add scores together in education and achieve at a meaningful outcome (eg, creating an “overall” score is invalid, because the numerals being added together aren’t based on a demonstrably quantitative attribute). And if this is the case, then we don’t actually have fairness, as the reliability and validity that we appear to have are built on a false foundation.

*For a detailed version of this argument, see Dalziel (1998)

If automated testing produces scores which are not real measurement, but rather spurious numerals; and given that the use of automated testing has such a great impact on the way students learn (and how teachers teach), then I believe there is an argument for a fundamental change in the way education is conducted in the US (and elsewhere). If automated testing is rejected, and the types of learning described above are valued, then the alternative approach to education could look more like typical Learning Design sequences.

The second, somewhat valid defence of extensive automated testing is that any alternative to this would involve enormous human effort on the part of educators. If educators need to conduct rich assessments with feedback and dialogue for each individual student, then this would take an enormous amount of time; and educators are already incredibly busy, so it is hard to see where this time could come from.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, The impact of open source software on education. OpenStax CNX. Mar 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10431/1.7
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