Performance Standards': Utility for Different Uses of Assessments

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Abstract

Performance standards are arguably one of the most controversial topics in educational measurement. There are uses of assessments such as licensure and certification where performance standards are essential. There are many other uses, however, where performance standards have been mandated or become the preferred method of reporting assessment results where the standards are not essential to the use. Distinctions between essential and nonessential uses of performance standards are discussed. It is argued that the insistence on reporting in terms of performance standards in situations where they are not essential has been more harmful than helpful. Variability in the definitions of proficient academic achievement by states for purposes of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is discussed and it is argued that the variability is so great that characterizing achievement is meaningless. Illustrations of the great uncertainty in standards are provided.

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How to Cite
Linn, R. L. (2003). Performance Standards’: Utility for Different Uses of Assessments. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 11, 31. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v11n31.2003
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Author Biography

Robert L. Linn, University of Colorado at Boulder

Robert L. Linn is Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Co-Director of the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing. He has published over 200 journal articles and chapters in books dealing with a wide range of theoretical and applied issues in educational measurement and has received several awards for his contributions to the field, including the ETS Award for Distinguished Service to Measurement, the E.L Thorndike Award, the E.F. Lindquist Award, the National Council on Measurement in Education Career Award, and the American Educational Research Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to Educational Research. He is past president of the American Educational Research Association, past president of the National Council on Measurement in Education, past president of the Evaluation and Measurement Division of the American Psychological Association, and past vice-president for the Research and Measurement Division of the American Educational Research Association. He is a member of the National Academy of Education, a Lifetime National Associate of the National Academies, and serves on two Boards of the National Academy of Sciences.