Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Summer 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

Catherine J. Welch

Abstract

Within the past decade federal education policy has drastically shifted the role of student achievement tests in directing educational decision-making. Despite public policy directives for increased use of test results to improve educational outcomes, there is little understanding in the research literature of practitioners' knowledge and skills in interpreting and using educational data, such as test results, to enhance classroom instruction and student learning.

This study surveyed over two hundred educational practitioners (N=220) to learn more about their abilities to locate, interpret and use assessment results, as well as how self-confident they indicated they were in their knowledge and skills regarding assessment practices. Respondents represented a diverse cross-section of practitioners and included practitioners that worked within an AEA, practitioners that worked within a large public school district, and practitioners that worked within a private school setting.

The survey that was developed and administered to the practitioners, the Assessment Results Survey, was composed of two separate surveys administered at the same time: The Assessment Results Interpretation and Use Survey and the Assessment Self-Confidence Survey. The first survey assessed practitioners' ability to locate, use and interpret assessment results. The second survey assessed practitioners' self-confidence with respect to assessment practices. Results indicated that practitioners performed well on all sub-scores (Locate Data, Interpret Data, and Use Data) of the Assessment Results Interpretation and Use Survey. Practitioners also indicated high levels of confidence with respect to assessment practices.

Background variables such as years of teaching experience, completion of college-level coursework in assessment, and participation in professional development focused on assessment were used to compare practitioners' overall performance and responses on the surveys. Practitioners that received college-level training in assessment demonstrated higher performance on the Assessment Results Interpretation and Use Survey than practitioners that indicated no college-level training. Practitioners that participated in professional development indicated a higher level of self-confidence regarding their assessment knowledge and skills, but did not demonstrate significantly higher performance on the Assessment Results Interpretation and Use Survey than those that had not received professional development.

Pages

xiii, 195 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 140-146).

Copyright

Copyright 2012 Karoline Ann Jarr

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