Download PDF by J. Douglas Willms: Monitoring School Performance: A Guide for Educators

By J. Douglas Willms

First released in 1992. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Extra info for Monitoring School Performance: A Guide for Educators

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An observer from the UK would find the link between 21 Monitoring School Performance the state and school districts particularly slack. State school acts would appear to constitute rough guidelines for district policy, instead of statutory regulations. The curriculum of the schools would seem vague and haphazard. But what would be particularly disturbing to the UK observer is the lack of a national or state examination system. Most schools in the US base assessment on teachers’ observations, locally produced tests, or commercial tests that accompany textbooks.

The standardized achievement tests used in performance monitoring have been standardized on nationally representative samples. Thus, the scores of individuals or the average scores of schools or districts can be compared with national norms. Norm-referenced achievement tests (NRTs) cover a large domain of academic skills, but have few items covering any specific set of skills. Test items tend to be of average difficulty; this increases the likelihood that total test scores will discriminate amongst individuals (Gronlund, 1985).

In 1965 the Labour Government announced its plan for the reorganization of secondary schooling along comprehensive lines. The inten-tion of the reform was to postpone differentiation at least until the latter stages of compulsory schooling, and to establish ‘comprehensive’ schools that served all pupils in designated catchment areas. , Scottish Education Department, 1965, p. 2). Many believed also that by eliminating the ‘creaming’ of able pupils from one school 18 The Social and Political Context of Monitoring Systems to another, reorganization would reduce the association of attainment with social class (see McPherson and Willms, 1987 for a detailed account of the goals of comprehensive reorganization in Scotland).

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