Barbara Romano

How to Use Standardized Tests: Identifying School in Need of Improvement and Setting Priorities for Helpful Actions

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Keywords: Standardized Tests; School in Need of Improvement; Achievement Gap; Education Deprivation.

This chapter makes the claim that that the Italian standardized test scores, aggregated at the school level and handed back to each school, should be used to identify failing schools, failing with respect to each specific dimensions of performance: e.g., low scores highly concentrated among few pupils, or scores much below those expected by controlling for the school's socioeconomic back-ground. We claim the test results should be handed back to the schools identifying explicitly each dimension of failure. On a completely different tack has moved the National School Evaluation System, which is asking each school to interpret the data and to classify itself along one unique sev-en-level scale, from 'very critical' to 'excellent'. We seriously doubt that such contraption would be able to suggest any direction or priority for school improvement.

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