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Online testing - ya gotta be kidding

By Murray Bourne, 23 Aug 2005

This article about online testing in Oregon has holes in it that you could drive through: "Online testing helped raise scores" [Unfortunately, the article no longer exists.].

At least the article has...

State officials attribute the gains in part to the use of a home-grown, web-based testing service

When will people realise that:

  1. Education is a multi-variable thing (Why are the scores higher? Are they asking the same questions? What are the conditions under which the tests were conducted? Was the a change in the teaching/learning strategy that went with the online testing? Were the students "prepped" in a different way for the online tests? How easy is it to 'beat the system'?)
  2. Multiple choice testing has many limitations (I gather the online tests were MCQ since the results were delivered "immediately"
  3. How many attempts were the students allowed? (the "I'll try my luck" syndrome)
  4. A test score is only a vague indication of learning and is often a better indication of test-taking skills
  5. All educational statistics is correct, plus/minus 50%...!

High scores do not always imply learning and likewise, low scores do not always imply no learning.

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