"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bush and Spellings Welcome Immigrant--Test Experts

Yes, that's right--a job that is not being exported: psychometricians. We need more of them because the current testing frenzy has created a shortage, and the Bush/Spellings team assures us in this Times piece that the the test expert crisis, unlike the bird flu threat, is totally in hand:
David Dunn, the acting under secretary of education, said that the Bush administration was addressing the dearth of psychometricians in its wider efforts to raise the number of math and science graduates and that officials had confidence in the testing industry.
FairTest, however, is not so sure that Buffy's and Biff's SAT scores can be counted on, shall we say:

Robert A. Schaeffer of FairTest, a watchdog group, said competition for psychometricians had many switching employers for higher salaries, meaning that they typically had less experience with employers' test products. State agencies, Mr. Schaeffer said, had short staffs, resulting in less oversight.

"All of these reduce quality control, makes the possibility of errors greater," he said.
Psychometricians worry that the shortage could lead to breaches of standards.

Troublemakers can never see the sunny side:

Still, the situation has delighted some, who see their industry gaining prestige and say that properly used tests can be a powerful tool in improving instruction and student achievement. Of course, they also see brightening financial prospects.

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