Using Alternative Assessments in Vocational Education

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Rand, 1997 - Education - 176 pages
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This volume covers a study of the utility of alternative (i.e., non-multiple choice) forms of student assessment for vocational education, the primary objective of which was to describe various alternative assessments currently available and offer criteria for choosing among them. Six operational programs were used as case studies; each employs one or more constructed-response measures, and together they represent a range of assessment options. Each was critically reviewed based on descriptive materials, research literature, interviews, and, in four cases, site visits. The evaluation focused on comparing the different assessments' quality (reliability, validity, fairness), feasibility (cost, time, complexity, credibility), and potential usefulness for vocational educators. Design and implementation issues important to any decisions about using alternative assessments were determined (e.g., the need to clarify the assessment's purpose), as well as related issues (e.g., the relative advantages of low versus high stakes, voluntary versus mandatory participation). Illustrations are given of how vocational educators can use this review as an aid in determining the usefulness of the alternatives for a particular situation.

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About the author (1997)

Dr. Brian Stecher (Ph.D., Education, University of California, Los Angeles) is a senior social scientist in the Education program at RAND. Dr. Stecher's research emphasis is applied educational measurement, including the implementation, quality, and impact of state assessment and accountability systems; the cost, quality, and feasibility of performance-based assessments, and the development and validation of licensing and certification examinations. Dr. Stecher currently directs a multi-state, NSF-funded study of the accountability provisions of the No Child Left Behind act, and he recently completed a four-year evaluation of the California Class Size Reduction initiative. Dr. Stecher is a member of the Technical Design Group, advising the California Department of Education on the development of that state's accountability system. Dr. Stecher has published widely in professional journals, and he is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the Educational Assessment Journal.

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