Irena Barker

Can we trust the results of high-stakes tests?


When teachers and schools are under intense pressure to get results, how can we know if a jump in attainment represents a real leap in learning? Daniel Koretz warns Irena Barker that the more we tie assessments to accountability, the less reliable they become

Can we trust the results of high-stakes tests?

The more you tell people they are going to be accountable for a given metric, the less you can trust that metric,” according to Daniel Koretz, Henry Lee Shattuck Research Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

In an education system that often appears completely obsessed with high-stakes tests – and that holds up schools achieving the best exam results as exemplars – his comment will be music to the ears of some teachers, while others will scoff.

Either way, Koretz has done his homework: a former elementary school teacher, he has spent much of the past 30 ...

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