Publications & Resources

Assessing Student Achievement: Search for Validity and Balance

Jun 1998

Anne Lewis

With uncanny timing, the 1997 CRESST Conference confronted issues about proposed national tests at the very moment the proposal was being debated on Capitol Hill. While the east coast discussion was almost purely political, the three-day CRESST Conference made it obvious that such large-scale testing would raise challenging technical issues which, ultimately, also would become political ones. As the debate continues through several required Congressional studies, it will become even more apparent that the CRESST Conference agenda anticipated the large as well as less obvious concerns of assessment experts and policymakers as they tackle this new phase in assessment policy. The CRESST presentations and discussions made the conference theme–searching for validity and balance in student achievement–even more urgent because validity certainly was on the minds of those who had examined the issues related to national testing. And balance was an issue for all who placed the idea of national tests into the context of local realities and community values. These issues “are essential to every testing program,” CRESST Co-director Eva Baker noted at the opening of the conference, but they are particularly pertinent to the idea of national testing, she said.

Lewis, A. (1998). Assessing student achievement: Search for validity and balance (CSE Report 481). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).