Testing, Measurement, and Educational Policy Is Topic of Steinhardt’s Education Policy Breakfast

Steinhardt’s February 2014 Education Policy Breakfast session, “The Benefits of Testing… and Its Consequences,” brought together members of the education community for a conversation on testing and teacher assessment.

Howard Wainer, distinguished research scientist at the National Board of Medical Examiners, and former principal research scientist at the Educational Testing Service, and George Noell, a professor of psychology at Louisiana State University, presented research and findings.  Sharon Weinberg, professor of applied statistics and psychology at NYU Steinhardt, moderated the event.

In a presentation about using statistical measures to evaluate teachers and create educational policy,  Wainer argued against evaluating teachers based on their students’ test scores as such a model could not present a comprehensive picture of the teacher-student relationship.  He noted that missing data has a profound effect on research outcomes and that drawing conclusions about teachers from a limited data sample offers a distorted picture of teacher effectiveness.

Noell stressed the value of using all the data at hand to make informed policy decisions. He noted that educational policy decisions are frequently made by elected officials who create policy around their own educational experience.  He urged policy makers to make decisions in the face of uncertainty using reliable and proven assessments.

PHOTO:  Howard Wainer (left) spoke on using evidence to uncover misguided education policy at Steinhardt’s Education Policy Breakfast session in February.  Pictured with George Noell and Sharon Weinberg.  Credit:  Debra Weinstein.

Read an event recap — in tweets and pictures — on Storify.