Melanie Ehren: Trust in standardized tests: A global perspective

February 13, 2024

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

2:00 - 4:00 PM (PDT) at Berkeley Way West 1212 and via Zoom

Open to GSE faculty, students, and community.

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Standardized assessments play an important role in many education systems. They inform decisions about progression, certification, qualification and graduation of students and provide or withhold opportunities for those who take these tests. Standardized assessments are also frequently used for teacher performance reviews and school accountability, or to monitor learning outcomes at the national level. The reliance on test outcomes necessitates a need to trust these assessments. As Simpson and Baird (2016) say, “Examination results are a form of ‘currency’——and like all currencies they must be trusted by their users to hold any meaning within a social system” (p. 27).

In this seminar, Professor Ehren will present recent work about trust in standardized assessments, discussing the relation between conceptualizations of validity and fairness of assessments and trust. She will explain how different regulatory regimes of standardized assessment (nationalized, commercial, quasi-market) inform and influence collective trust in the school context, as well as the role of assessments as (third-party) guarantors of trust in educational standards and school and teaching quality more broadly.

About the speaker:

Melanie Ehren is full Professor in Educational Governance at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She combines a strong disciplinary background in educational and school effectiveness with a comparative approach to understanding outcomes of education systems. Her international work on assessment, accountability, inspection, evaluation and improvement has included various countries in the EU, Africa, Asia and the U.S, including visiting scholarships at Harvard University and Columbia University and consultancies for the OECD, UNICEF, and the EU.