Download PDF by Mark J. Garrison: A Measure of Failure: The Political Origins of Standardized

By Mark J. Garrison

ISBN-10: 1438427778

ISBN-13: 9781438427775

Asks how and why standardized assessments became the ever-present average wherein academic fulfillment and intelligence are measured.

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Extra info for A Measure of Failure: The Political Origins of Standardized Testing

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But even more significant is this: [V]alidity is proposed as the characteristic of the evidence used to support the construct “validity,” and the essence of the concept is surely its very questionability. Far more damning, however, is the clear implication that evidence that does not cogently support the assertions of the test users should not be presented. Putting it another way, validity is a concept based on advocacy, is a rationalizing tool for a methodological decision already made, and is an ideological support rather than a scientific enterprise.

Of the transition from measures rich in their representational quality, with their human associations, “to abstract measures of convention, ‘signifying’ nothing,” Kula writes, points to how “difficult, though, it is to find immutable elements in a world in which nothing stays unchanging! The picture of attempts to find such elements, such fixed points of reference, is therefore full of social values” (1986, 120). One of the most striking moves in the development of our metrological concepts is to look to nature for an immutable standard.

Far more damning, however, is the clear implication that evidence that does not cogently support the assertions of the test users should not be presented. Putting it another way, validity is a concept based on advocacy, is a rationalizing tool for a methodological decision already made, and is an ideological support rather than a scientific enterprise. (1998, chap. 16, ¶14–15) Thus, with this, the project of psychometry is properly understood as political theory, for it serves to justify decisions regarding the position of people and allocation of resources within a system of structured inequality.

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A Measure of Failure: The Political Origins of Standardized Testing by Mark J. Garrison


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