High-stakes educational testing is a global phenomenon which is increasing in both scale and importance. Assessments are high-stakes when there are serious consequences for one or more stakeholders. Historically, tests have largely been used for selection or for providing a ‘licence to practise’, making them high-stakes for the test takers. Testing is now also used for the purposes of improving standards of teaching and learning and of holding schools accountable for their students’ results. These tests then become high-stakes for teachers and schools, especially when they have to meet externally imposed targets. More recent has been the emergence of international comparative testing, which has become high-stakes for governments and policy makers as their education systems are judged in relation to the performances of other countries.
In this book we draw on research which examines each of these uses of high-stakes testing. The articles evaluate the impact of such assessments and explore the issues of value and fairness which they raise. To underline the international appeal of high-stakes testing the studies are drawn from Australia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, former Soviet republics and North America. Collectively they illustrate the power of high-stakes assessment in shaping, for better or for worse, policy making and schooling.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice.
Table of Contents
1. High-stakes testing – value, fairness and consequences Gordon Stobart and Theo Eggen 2. The evolution of high-stakes testing at the school–university interface in the former republics of the USSR George Bethell and Algirdas Zabulionis 3. Unintended consequences of forced policy-making in high stakes examinations: the case of the Republic of Cyprus Iasonas Lamprianou 4. Differential outcomes in high-stakes eleven plus testing: the role of gender, geography, and assessment design in Trinidad and Tobago Jerome De Lisle, Peter Smith, Carol Keller and Vena Jules 5. The impact of high stakes testing: the Australian story Val Klenowski and Claire Wyatt-Smith 6. High-stakes testing in South Africa: friend or foe? Sarah Howie 7. Rethinking validation in complex high-stakes assessment contexts Martha J. Koch and Christopher DeLuca 8. Educational measurement issues and implications of high stakes decision making in final examinations in secondary education in the Netherlands P.W. van Rijn, A.A. Béguin and H.H.F.M. Verstralen
Theo J.H.M. Eggen is Senior Research Scientist at the Psychometric Research Center of Cito and full professor of psychometrics at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Consultancy and research on educational and psychometrical issues of test development are his main activities. His specializations are: item response theory, quality of tests, (inter)national assessment, and computerized adaptive testing. He has major experience as a consultant in educational measurement at Cito, at the university and internationally. He is author of research articles and chapters of textbooks. He is scientific director of the Research Center for Examinations and Certification (RCEC).
Gordon Stobart is Emeritus Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK, and a Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University, UK. He spent twenty years in policy-related environments and is a former editor of Assessment in Education: principles, policy and practice. His current work is on how experts learn and the implications for classroom teaching and learning. His most recent book is The Expert Learner – Challenging the myth of ability (2014).