CONTACT: SCOTT HAUSER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
National testing expert discusses proposed national tests Oct. 23
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A nationally known expert on large-scale educational
testing will discuss some of the difficult design issues faced by proposed
national standardized tests at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23 at the University
of Iowa College of Education.
Robert L. Linn, co-director of the Center for Research on Evaluation
Standards and Student Testing (CRESST) at the Universities of California
at Los Angeles and Colorado at Boulder, will present the third annual William
E. Coffman Lecture in Jones Commons (N300) of the Lindquist Center.
The topic of the talk is "Validity, Utility, Credibility and the
Proposed Voluntary National Tests."
Lectures in the series, sponsored by the Iowa Testing Programs and the
Iowa Measurement Research Foundation at the UI College of Education, are
free and open to the public.
Linn, who is also a distinguished professor at the University of Colorado
at Boulder, has published widely in the field of educational measurement
and has held a number of national offices in the field.
President Clinton has proposed a plan to test the reading skills of
all fourth-graders in the country and the mathematics skills of all eighth-graders.
The tests, which would be voluntary, have sparked controversies in both
political and educational arenas.
One of CRESST's current projects is to explore the interplay of validity,
credibility and utility when standardized tests are given to large numbers
of students. Those are some of the issues that national tests will also
have to address, Linn says.
"Although it is easy to dismiss some of the wrangling over the
proposed voluntary national tests as nothing more than partisan politics,
the debate also involves issues that are fundamental to the enterprise
of large-scale educational assessment as currently practiced by states
and large districts throughout the country," Linn says.
Robert Brennan, director of the Iowa Testing Programs and the E.F. Lindquist
Professor of Educational Measurement, says Linn is a national figure in
"Bob Linn is undoubtedly one of the most highly regarded measurement
experts in the country, not only for his research, but also for his sage
counsel on a number of issues in the field of educational measurement,"
Brennan says. "He has justifiably received virtually every award the
field has to offer."
As guest speaker, Linn will also participate in several discussion sessions
with graduate students, the staff of the Iowa Testing Programs and the
faculty of the UI College of Education.
William E. Coffman served on the faculty of the Division of Psychological
and Quantitative Foundations of Education from 1969 to 1981. During that
time, he was director of the Iowa Testing Programs as well as the first
E.F. Lindquist Professor of Educational Measurement.
While at the UI, Coffman was recognized for his writings on the reliability
and validity of essay examinations as measurements of educational achievement.
He is currently an emeritus professor in the College of Education.
The Coffman Lecture Series is administered by the Iowa Testing Programs
and the Division of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations of Education.