Consequences of Assessment: What is the Evidence?


  • William A. Mehrens Michigan State University



Educational Assessment, Educational Research, Elementary Secondary Education, Evaluation Methods, Program Effectiveness, State Programs, Test Use, Testing Programs


Attention is here directed toward the prevalence of large scale assessments (focusing primarily on state assessments). I examine the purposes of these assessment programs; enumerate both potential dangers and benefits of such assessments; investigate what the research evidence says about assessment consequences (including a discussion of the quality of the evidence); discuss how to evaluate whether the consequences are good or bad; present some ideas about what variables may influence the probabilities for good or bad consequences; and present some tentative conclusions about the whole issue of the consequences of assessment and the amount of evidence available and needed.


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Author Biography

William A. Mehrens, Michigan State University

WILLIAM A. MEHRENS is a professor of measurement at Michigan State University. He received his Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1965. His interests include educational testing in general, legal issues in high-stakes testing, teaching to the test, and performance assessment. He has been elected to office in several professional organizations including the presidency of both the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) and the Association for Measurement and Evaluation in Guidance (currently called the Association for Assessment in Counseling). He is the immediate past Vice President of Division D of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). He is the author or co-author of several major textbooks and many articles. Honors include the NCME Award for Career Contributions to Educational Measurement, 1997; a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Teachers College Alumni Association Award of Excellence, 1997; an AACD Professional Development Award, 1991; MSU Distinguished Faculty Award, 1983; APA Division 15 Fellow, 1984; APA Division 5 Fellow, 1978; and Pi Mu Epsilon, National honorary mathematics fraternity, 1958.




How to Cite

Mehrens, W. A. (1998). Consequences of Assessment: What is the Evidence?. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 6, 13.