ERIC Identifier: ED315432
Publication Date: 1989-11-00
Author: Rudman, Herbert C.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Tests Measurement and Evaluation Washington DC., American Institutes for
Research Washington DC.
Integrating Testing with Teaching. ERIC Digest.
Testing and teaching are not separate entities. Teaching has always been a
process of helping others to discover "new" ideas and "new" ways of organizing
that which they learned. Whether this process took place through systematic
teaching and testing, or whether it was through a discovery approach, testing
was, and remains, an integral part of teaching.
This digest discusses ways teaching and testing can be integrated. Just as
there is no "best" teaching method, neither is there only one best approach to
testing. The digest discusses the use of tests as an instructional tool, the use
of tests as an administrative tool, teacher attitudes towards testing, and
teacher competency with regard to testing.
The term "test" is viewed here as any of a variety of techniques that can
capture what a person knows in response to a question. This includes
standardized tests of achievement and aptitude, less formal paper-and-pencil
tests, performance tests, and the like. Tests, whatever form they take, require
a response that is considered "correct." Measures of attitude, personality, and
interest would not fall under this definition.
IN WHAT WAYS CAN TESTING BE LINKED TO TEACHING?
is a useful tool at the beginning of the school year.
It can help a teacher gain an overview of what students bring to new
instruction. Test results early in the school year can help the teacher plan
review material and identify potential issues to be faced. Examining past test
results can help a teacher who is new to a specific school assess the school
setting that he or she will work in.
o Testing can aid in decisions about grouping students in the class.
If the teacher has specified instructional objectives, testing can yield
information that will aid the teacher in assigning specific students to
instructional groups. The teacher can change the groups later after more
teaching and testing has taken place.
o Testing can be used to diagnose what individual pupils know.
No one source of data can be sufficient to assess what a pupil knows about
school-related content. What is called for is a triangulation of several kinds
of data drawn from various types of tests: standardized tests of achievement and
aptitude, teacher-made quizzes, observations of behavior, and the like.
Diagnosis does not necessarily mean prescription unless the data collected have
demonstrated high reliability and validity.
o Testing can help the teacher determine the pace of classroom instruction.
Teachers tend to use tests that they prepared themselves much more often than
any other type of test to monitor what has been previously learned. These tests
may take the form of oral questioning of the class or individual students, or
paper-and-pencil tests. Systematic observations of a student applying a skill
can be thought of as a form of performance testing. Testing used in these ways
are a prerequisite for determining how quickly new material can be presented.
These tests help the teacher gain a perspective of the range of attained
learning as well as individual competence.
IN WHAT WAYS CAN TESTING BE USED TO HELP TEACHERS AND
o Tests can be used to help make promotion and retention
Many factors enter into the important decision of moving a student into the
next grade. Intuition is an important part of any decision but that intuition is
enhanced when coupled with data. Standardized tests, and records of classroom
performance on less formal tests are essential for supplying much of the data
upon which these decisions are based.
o Test results are important devices to share information with boards of
education, parents, and the general public through the media.
Classroom instruction depends upon a large support network. That network
needs information if an adequate support level is to be maintained. Tests in
various forms can supply that information. Informational needs vary among the
support groups; specialized referrals for remediation and enrichment need test
data for parental support and approval; effectiveness of educational planning is
needed by boards of education: evidence which can be partially supplied by test
data; financial support of existing programs by the general community needs
evidence that can be supplied by test data.
o Test results are useful tools for measuring the effectiveness of
instruction and learning.
Various types of tests can be employed when measuring how effectively
teaching impacts student learning. Learning when viewed in the aggregate can be
viewed within a district at three levels; district, building, and classroom.
Standardized tests are particularly useful at all three levels. These tests can
be used in norm, criterion and objective-referenced modes. Tests written within
the district for large-scale use can also supply information focused
specifically on unique, local aspects of educational programs.
WHAT APPEAR TO BE TEACHERS' AND ADMINISTRATORS' ATTITUDES
TOWARDS THEIR USE OF TESTS?
o There is a gap between what teachers and
administrators think, and what those who write about them say that they think
about the value of testing.
o Teachers generally seem to be more supportive of testing than typified in
o Teachers attitudes are in part a function of their experience and their
knowledge of testing.
Those who are more experienced and who have had measurement training and
experience in administering tests show greater support for the use of them than
do those who are less experienced and less knowledgeable.
o School superintendents report a higher level of satisfaction with the use
of tests for decision making than do measurement specialists whose perceptions
of practitioners' attitudes tended to be more pessimistic.
WHAT DO STUDENTS FEEL ABOUT THE TESTS THEY TAKE?
feel that frequent testing helps them retain more content, reduces test anxiety,
and aids their own monitoring of their progress.
o Students report a higher level of test anxiety over teacher-made tests
(64%) than over standardized tests (30%). But while 88% of the students wanted
to know the results of their tests, only 44% wanted to discuss them with their
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Rudman, Herbert C. "Classroom Instruction and Tests: What Do We Really Know
About the Link?" NASSP Bulletin. 1987, 71, 496, pp. 3-22.
Rudman, Herbert C., Janet L. Kelly, Donna S. Wanous, William A. Mehrens,
Christopher M. Clark and Andrew C. Porter. Integrating Assessment With
Instruction: A Review (1922-1980). Research Series No. 75, Institute for
Research on Teaching, College of Education, Michigan State University, 1980.
Rudner, L.M. (ed) Testing in Our Schools. The National Institute of
Education, U.S. Department of Education, 1983.
Stetz, Frank and Michael D. Beck. "Comments From the Classroom: Teachers' and
Students' Opinions of Achievement Tests." Paper presented at the annual meeting
of the National Council on Measurement in Education, San Francisco, 1979.