Measurement Matters: Perspectives on Education Policy from an Economist and School Board Member
From the perspective of someone who is both an economist and a former school board member, this paper assesses the use of test-score data by policy-makers and academic researchers. The absence of interval scales often makes the interpretation of test-scores and the indicators derived from them highly problematic. Economists have both been deficient in alerting policy-makers to the inherent difficulties in using such data and cavalier in their own treatment of them. Test score data often merely confirm what administrators already know. Nevertheless they can be useful if used as a trigger for further investigation, and, in particular, as a lever for encouraging principals and other administrators to act on information about teacher (or school) quality.
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