Correcting Fallacies about Educational and Psychological Testing


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  • About the Authors
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    Correcting Fallacies about Educational and Psychological Testing (American Psychological Association, December 2008)

    Description: Standardized testing bears the twin burden of controversy and complexity and is difficult for many to understand either dispassionately or technically. In response to this reality, Richard P. Phelps and a team of well-noted measurement specialists describe the current state of public debate about testing across fields, explain and refute the primary criticisms of testing, acknowledge the limitations and undesirable consequences of testing, provide suggestions for improving testing practices, and present a vigorous defense of testing as well as a practical vision for its promise and future.
    Those who are charged with translating the science of testing into public information and policy--including administrators, social scientists, test publishers, professors, and journalists who specialize in education and psychology--will find a wealth of valuable information here with which to balance the debate. A glossary is also provided.

    ISBN: 9781433803925 or 1433803925 (cloth)
    OCLC: 232656139 cloth
    LOC: LB3051 C6386 2009
    Dewey: 371.262 C824

    #18 on Best Sellers in Education list for 2009, Library Journal

    An Education Selection by Morgan & Beckett for YBP Library Services: "These research-based essays analyze current misperceptions that surround standardized testing. They argue the value of testing, if done correctly and with scholarship."

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    Foreword, Thomas Oakland
    Introduction and Overview
    Logical Fallacies Used to Dismiss the Evidence on Intelligence Testing, Linda S. Gottfredson
    Psychological Diagnostic Testing: Addressing Challenges in Clinical Applications of Testing, Janet F. Carlson & Kurt F. Geisinger
    Educational Achievement Testing: Critiques and Rebuttals, Richard P. Phelps
    College Admission Testing: Myths and Realities in an Age of Admissions Hype, Wayne J. Camara
    Criticisms of Employment Testing: A Commentary, Ernest H. O'Boyle & Michael A. McDaniel
    Mission--Protect the Public: Licensure and Certification Testing in the 21st Century, Stephen G. Sireci & Ron K. Hambleton
    Mistaken Impressions of Large-Scale Cognitive Diagnostic Testing, Jacqueline P. Leighton
    Summary & Discussion, Richard P. Phelps & Linda S. Gottfredson

    Appendices accessible at APA Books Web site



    Available at your friendly neighborhood virtual bookstore (or through American Psychological Association) # Amazon # B&N



    "The mythology surrounding testing is varied and vast. Too often, opinion trumps scholarship and advocacy distorts science. This timely book is required reading for all who seek straight talk about testing."
    - A. Jackson Stenner, PhD, CEO, MetaMetrics, Inc., Durham, NC

    "This is an important and readable book that addresses many of the erroneous beliefs regarding educational and psychological assessment. It will be of interest to teachers, administrators, and policymakers to help them better understand the complexities involved in educational testing and how tests can be used to improve student learning."
    - Craig S. Wells, PhD, Assistant Professor, Research and Evaluation Methods Program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    "This refreshing book confronts current misperceptions in testing head on. Written by some of the most authoritative scholars in the field, each essay in Correcting Fallacies about Educational and Psychological Testing persuades with research data, logical reasoning, and lengthy reference lists, providing compelling evidence against the "untruths about testing" that have gained traction in the public discourse over the past few decades. I enthusiastically recommend it to policymakers and anyone else who has the power to spread the gospel of 'truth in testing.'"
    - Mary Lyn Bourque, EdD, Mid Atlantic Psychometric Services, Leesburg, VA

    "Correcting Fallacies about Educational and Psychological Testing is a long overdue analysis of what is true and not true in the field of testing. Done correctly, for the right reasons, testing can be a most valuable tool. Richard P. Phelps and his team have greatly advanced the rigor of reporting real evidence in a field that should not be based on opinion."
    - The Honorable David P. Driscoll, former Commissioner of Education, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

    "This book addresses virtually all the condemnations that typically are cited in a manner that would be understandable to a layperson while not compromising the quality of the content. Consequently, students and practitioners in the fields of the education and psychology are presented with an informed view of how testing is generally negatively perceived and shown where evidence exists to disprove the misperceptions. While it is commonplace for professionals in education and psychology to hear criticisms of testing, we often do not take the time to contemplate the origin of the criticism. Correcting Fallacies provides a persuasive, accessible and altogether unbiased view of testing, founded on empirical evidence rather than languishing in opinion. Correcting Fallacies covers a hot topic in a manner that is both thought-provoking and informative."
    - Caven S. Mcloughlin & Heather Doyle, Education Review

    "an important addition to the literature regarding standardized testing in psychology and education. Correcting Fallacies presents a perspective on psychological and educational testing that needs to be presented to balance the debate. The text is appropriate for all in the fields of education, including school psychology, educational psychology, and higher education administration. It is also highly relevant to those in the fields of vocational rehabilitation, college admissions, and teacher education programs. I plan to recommend this book to many of my colleagues as a way of opening informed debate regarding the validity and necessity for educational testing.
    "Throughout the text, sensitive subjects in the field of testing are discussed in a clear and concise manner. Topics such as heritability of intelligence, cultural bias of intelligence tests, socioeconomic factors in college admissions tests, and racial discrimination in job testing are handled in an objective and open fashion."
    - Christopher A. Was, PsycCRITIQUES

    "Standardized testing has been respected by academics yet criticized by the public for many years, and this book responds to the controversies surrounding test applications for the diagnosis, measurement and measuring of achievement. Editor Phelps has written and edited several books and scholarly journals, and he has enlisted the help of several measurement specialists to explore both sides of the public debate about standardized testing while offering suggestions for the improvement of testing practices. Written for policymakers, social scientists and scholars in education and psychology, this book also includes a glossary of testing terms."
    - Annotation (c)2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (



    Wayne J. Camara is Vice President for Research and Analysis at the College Board and responsible for managing research and assessment development for the current and revised SAT, Advanced Placement Program and other assessments. He has served as the project director for state and federal testing/research contracts, and as an expert witness in legal proceedings involving selection, including, Gratz v. Bollinger. Before joining the College Board in 1994, Dr. Camara served as assistant executive director of Science at the American Psychological Association (APA), where he directed governance and scientific involvement in policy and federal advocacy initiatives in behavioral science research. He also directed the revision of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. Dr. Camara is a fellow of APA (Divisions 1, 5, 14), Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and past president of Division 5. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the National Council on Measurement in Education and is currently chair-elect of the Association of Test Publishers (ATP), chair of the U.S. Department of Defense's Technical Advisory Committee overseeing enlisted selection and assessment and a member of the Pennsylvania State Assessment Program TAC.

    Janet F. Carlson [Home Page] currently serves as a Research Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she teaches courses in assessment, ethics, and counseling, for the Counseling Psychology program and works at the Buros Center for Testing. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology at Fordham University and began a full-time academic career thereafter. Prior to her appointment at UNL, she held faculty appointments at Fordham, Fairfield University, Le Moyne College, SUNY-Oswego, and Texas A&M University at Galveston. She is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association (APA) and in the American Educational Research Association. She is a licensed psychologist in Nebraska, Texas, and New York State, and a certified school psychologist in New York State.

    Kurt Geisinger is Director, Buros Center for Testing and W. C. Meierhenry Distinguished University Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Editor of Applied Measurement in Education, and past editor or co-editor of Psychological Testing of Hispanics and Test Interpretation and Diversity, both APA books. His research interests include validity theory, test fairness, admissions, testing, proper use of tests, use of tests for individuals with disabilities, testing of language minorities, and translation or adaptation of tests from one language and culture to another. Geisinger served on the Assessment of Individuals with Disabilities Workgroup of the Joint Committee on Testing Practices.

    Linda S. Gottfredson [Home Page] is Professor of Education and Affiliated Faculty in the University Honors Program at the University of Delaware. She has published extensively on the impact of general intelligence on personal functioning in different life domains, including school, work, and health. Her articles and edited volumes (e.g., �Fairness in Employment Testing,� Journal of Vocational Behavior, 1988; �Intelligence and Social Policy,� Intelligence, 1997) also examine how race and sex differences in abilities and interests create sociopolitical dilemmas for democratic societies and yield censored science. She has focused most recently on what makes some daily tasks more cognitively demanding than others, thereby putting less intellectually able individuals at greater risk of accidents, non-adherence to medical regimens, and failure to master the basic reading, writing, and reasoning tasks of modern life. She serves on the editorial board of various journals, including Intelligence, and the board of directors for several scientific societies, including the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences.

    Ronald Hambleton [Home Page] holds the title of Distinguished University Professor and is Chairperson of the Research and Evaluation Methods Program and Executive Director of the Center for Educational Assessment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is co-author of several textbooks including Fundamentals of Item Response Theory, and Item Response Theory: Principles and Applications (with H. Swaminathan and H. Jane Rogers), and co-editor of the Handbook of Modern Item Response Theory (with Wim van der Linden), and Adaptation of Educational and Psychological Tests for Cross-Cultural Assessment (with Peter Merenda and Charles Spielberger). Hambleton has received honorary doctorates from Umea University in Sweden and the University of Oviedo in Spain, the 1994 National Council on Measurement in Education Career Award, and the 2003 Association of Test Publishers National Award for Contributions to Computer-Based Testing. Professor Hambleton is a frequent consultant to state departments of education, national government agencies, and credentialing organizations.

    Jacqueline P. Leighton [Home Page] Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta in the Centre for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation (CRAME) and registered psychologist by the College of Alberta Psychologists. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Alberta and she completed postdoctoral studies at Yale University. She has co-edited two books published by Cambridge University Press (Nature of Reasoning and Cognitive Diagnostic Assessment for Education) alongside other papers in scholarly journals. In 2007-2008, she was selected as a distinguished MINERVA scholar by the Canadian Council on Learning. Her research has been funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Education Statistics Council (CESC), and is also currently funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

    Michael A. McDaniel [Home Page] is a Professor of Human Resources and Organizational Behavior at Virginia Commonwealth University and President of Work Skills First, Inc., a human resource consulting firm. His areas of expertise include personnel selection and the applications of meta-analysis to management research topics. In recognition of his expertise in personnel selection, Dr. McDaniel has been elected as a Fellow to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science. He has published in leading journals including the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, and the Academy of Management Journal.

    Thomas Oakland [Home Page] is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Florida. He is President of the International Foundation for Children's Education, President Elect of the International Association of Applied Psychologists' Division of Psychological Assessment and Evaluation, and past-presidents of the International School Psychology Association and the International Test Commission. He has worked in more than 40 countries. Dr. Oakland holds an honorary status of Professor of Psychology at the Iberoamerican University in San Jose, Costa Rica, The University of Hong Kong, and the Universidade Lusi�ada do Porto, Portugal.

    Ernest O'Boyle Jr. is doctoral candidate in organizational behavior at Virginia Commonwealth University. His areas of expertise are structural equation modeling, counterproductive work behavior, and business ethics. He is a member of the Academy of Management, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and the Southern Management Association.

    Richard P. Phelps [Home Page] received degrees from Washington, Indiana, and Harvard Universities and a Ph.D. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He taught secondary school mathematics in Burkina Faso, West Africa; was the first Coordinator of the World Education Indicators Programme at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris; worked at the U.S. General Accounting Office, Westat, National Evaluation Systems, and Indiana's Education Department; and is editor and co-author of Defending Standardized Testing (Psychology Press, 2005); author of Standardized Testing Primer (Peter Lang, 2007) and Kill the Messenger (Transaction, 2003, 2005, 2008), lead author for several statistical compendia, and book review editor for Educational Horizons.

    Stephen G. Sireci [Home Page] is Director of the Center for Educational Assessment and Professor in the Research and Evaluation Methods Program in the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has held positions of responsibility with the Newark Board of Education, the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants, and the GED Testing Service of the American Council on Education. Professor Sireci specializes in evaluating test fairness, particularly issues related to content validity, test bias, and sensitivity review. He is the author of over 100 publications and paper presentations and co-editor of the International Journal of Testing.