Limitations in the Use of Achievement Tests as Measures of Educators' Productivity
Test-based accountability rests on the assumption that accountability for scores on tests will provide needed incentives for teachers to improve student performance. Evidence shows, however, that simple test-based accountability can generate perverse incentives and seriously inflated scores. This paper discusses the logic of achievement tests, issues that arise in using them as proxy indicators of educational quality, and the mechanism underlying the inflation of scores. It ends with suggestions, some speculative, for improving the incentives faced by teachers by modifying systems of student assessment and combining them with numerous other measures, many of which are more subjective than are test scores.
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