Terra Nova vs. SAT
Date sent: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 08:57:58 -0800
From: Bruce Crawford
To: Caleb Burns
Copies to: email@example.com
Subject: Re: Terra-Nova test -- any external validity? Nope.
I have little real knowledge of standardized testing and no expertise on the
subject. That having been said, I agree wholeheartedly with your closing
statement. SATs are the standard because that's what everyone uses as a
reference point. Arguments about its strengths or weaknesses, and what it does
or does not measure are but academic points of discussion.
I liken it to our system of measure. Here in America, we use feet and gallons.
Almost everyone else uses the metric system of meters and liters. But in the
U.S., it doesn't matter what they use because our standard of reference is
feet and gallons. So too it is with the SATs. ACTs, Terra Nova et al are but
the testing equivalent of the metric system, the British imperial gallons, or
Whitworth dimensional systems. Unless one owns an old MG or Jaguar, one rarely
goes to Sears to buy a Whitworth 1/2-in. wrench. Similarly, here we frame our
measure of academic performance in terms of SATs.
Caleb Burns wrote:
> Yesterday was a busy day -- but in part of it, I had a phonecall returned
> by Richard Shwarz, Ph.D., of Terra Nova (I think McGraw Hill -- but this
> is 30 hours later and my notes are at my office).
> He said that there has been established thus far no external validity for
> this test, although researchers are now (even as you read this, perhaps)
> looking at the relationship between NAEP tests and the Terra Nova and
> TIMMS (sp?) and the Terra Nova. He said that candidly, he thought that
> earlier anticipated comparisons between the Terra Nova and the SAT and the
> ACT will not be completed. He did say that equivalences were being
> established between the Terra Nova and several other tests (and he noted
> between the TCSS -- a test mentioned in volume 1 of the Terra Nova's
> techinical manual -- I know nothing about it). But I noted to him that
> equivalencies don't speak of the strength of the relationship between the
> tests, and he agreed with that.
> I mentioned to him the problem with consensual drift and he appeared to be
> unfamiliar with the term, etc. He also said that the validity data
> available for the Terra Nova was better than the validity data available
> for most other tests.
> Maybe so, but this justification (in my opinioin) is swill. Where the heck
> is the proof of the pudding? I noted to Schwarz that absent other markers,
> the SAT is THE basic measure. That I was concerned about other measures
> distracting our students, teachers, etc.
> Caleb Burns, Portland, Oregon
> For ideas in general to help people:
> EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE
EDUCATION CONSUMERS CLEARINGHOUSE