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Testing and Assessment for the Good of Education: Contributions of AERA Presidents, 1915–2015


"Early presidents of the American Educational Research Association were leaders in the testing movement. Their intentions were to improve education by means of testing, which included both IQ and achievement tests. Early measurement experts acknowledged in scholarly articles that IQ tests could not measure inherited ability of groups with vastly different opportunities to learn, and yet ability testing was promoted as a beneficial means for matching instruction to individual differences until the insights of the civil rights era in the 1960s. Standard achievement measures were developed importantly to allow valid comparisons across school systems and over time, but the representations of learning that were adequate 100 years ago came to have distorting effects on teaching and learning. Today's young psychometricians have opportunities to create new assessments in partnership with curriculum experts, but they should remain alert to the ways that well-intentioned assessment systems have been corrupted in the past."