The Institute for Evidence-Based Decision-Making in Education

A nonprofit corporation providing the evidence educators need to make informed decisions.

Educators' Handbook On Effective Testing

By Myles I. Friedman, Charles W. Hatch, Jacqueline E. Jacobs, Aileen C. Lau-Dickinson,Amanda B. Nickerson, and Katherine C. Schnepel

ISBN 0-966588-2-5

7" X 10" hardcover
912 pages

$135.00 (includes sh/h)

( by Mail or Phone )

The Handbook will help solve many of the testing problems imposed by the Individuals With Disabilities Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and accountability testing mandated by law in most states and more recently, by the many students failing the tests.

The Handbook also includes evaluations of over 100 tests most frequently used in education, such as tests of achievement (e.g. Terra Nova), intelligence (e.g. Binet), teacher certification (e.g. Praxis), college admission (e.g. SAT) and many more. Guidelines are provided to show educators how to select, construct, and defend the tests they use and for complying with the demands in special education. It is the first resource book on testing written in plain English specifically for educators.

Tests in the Handbook are grouped together according to their use in education:

  • Admission Testing and Decision-Making: Tests used for admission to college (e.g. GRE), admission to the education profession (e.g.Teacher Certification tests), and admission to school for the first time (e.g. Early Childhood Reading Tests).
  • Placement Testing and Decision-Making: Tests used to place students in schools, programs, and classes (e.g. Intelligence Tests).
  • Instructional Prescription Testing and Decision-Making: Tests used to assess mastery of skills, pinpoint deficiencies and need for corrective instruction.
  • Achievement Certification Testing and Decision-Making: Tests used to assess achievement of learning objectives.
  • Referral Testing and Decision-Making: Tests used by school psychologists, teachers, administrators, and nurses to identify causes of failure to learn so that appropriate referrals can be made.

Criteria For Including Tests In The Handbook

Since the handbook is written for educators, only reviews of tests relevant to the decisions educators make are considered. In addition, only tests that meet minimum validity, reliability, and objectivity criteria are included. Educators' time is precious. You should not need to consider useless tests when attempting to select a test for your purpose. However, an attempt is made to be liberal in establishing minimum criteria and to make exceptions when it is thought that a test may still be useful for a particular purpose. When exceptions to the criteria are allowed, explanations are given and test limitations are acknowledged.

Qualifications Of Test Reviewers:

Test reviewers were selected with great care. Having expertise in psychometrics was necessary but not sufficient to be selected. Test reviewers also needed to be familiar with education both as a field of study and as a profession, and to have an earned Ph.D. Reviewers had to have expertise in reviewing the particular type of tests they were assigned: admission, placement , instructional prescription, achievement certification, referral, or evaluation instruments.

Admissions Tests:The primary reviewer, Charles W. Hatch, is a consultant to state departments of education on certification tests educators must pass to be admitted to the education profession. For example, many states require applicants for teacher certification to pass PRAXIS tests. He also offers workshops to prepare applicants for teacher certification to pass the PRAXIS tests and college applicants and aspirants to pass tests such as the SAT and ACT tests. He is also familiar with the early childhood tests used to determine the extent to which young children are ready to be admitted to school for the first time. He has an earned Ph.D. in Educational Research Measurement.

Placement Tests: The primary reviewer, Aileen C. Lau-Dickerson, has an earned doctorate in Special Education with specialization in assessment testing. She is very familiar with all of the federal disability laws that must be heeded when placing disabled students in programs. When appropriate she refers to laws in her reviews. She has been involved in placement decisions affecting a great many students and knows the protocol for making placements.

Instructional Prescription Tests: The primary reviewer, Katherine P. Schnepel, has an earned Ph.D. in Educational Research and Measurement with a concentration in instruction. She is experienced in evaluating instructional programs and classroom instruction, and has expertise in diagnosing academic inadequacies and prescribing corrective instruction to remediate them. She is very familiar with tests used to diagnose inadequate mastery of sub skills needed to perform major skills taught in school, such as reading.

Achievement Certification Tests: The primary reviewer, Myles I. Friedman, has an earned doctorate in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on research and measurement. He has constructed achievement tests and served as a consultant to the federal government, state departments of education, and schools on the assessment of student achievement. He also established master's and doctoral programs in Research and Measurement.

Referral Tests: The primary reviewer, Amanda B. Nickerson, has an earned Ph.D.in School Psychology and teaches school psychology at a university. School psychologists are usually more involved in referral decisions than other school employees. They not only have expertise in academic testing, they also are experienced with tests that diagnose underlying causes of academic failure, such as tests that identify behavior, psychomotor, adaptation, hearing, and vision problems. She is experienced in evaluating causes of failure to learn and in making referrals to alleviate the causes. She has conducted needs assessments and worked with school teams to make referral decisions.

Criteria For Evaluating Educational Practices: The primary reviewer, Jacqueline E. Jacobs, has an earned doctorate in Special Education and Higher Education Administration and has taught evaluation and measurement courses in special education. Her current position as associate professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policies, and prior position as a school principal provide her with the experience required to understand the educational practices that are and need to be evaluated, as well as criteria used to evaluate the practices.

All of the reviewers are co-authors of the handbook.

The Educators' Handbook on Effective Testing vs. Buros' Mental Measurement Yearbooks and A Consumer Guide to Tests in Print

Buros' Mental Measurements Yearbooks attempt to assess all mental tests in print, many of which are not relevant to the decisions educators make. Many tests reviewed provide little or no evidence of validity and / or reliability.

A Consumer's Guide to Tests in Print (Hammill et al., 1992) does use criteria for assessing tests, but only assesses tests that are individually administered, standardized, norm-referenced tests. Moreover, many, if not most, of the tests assessed in the guide are rated as "not recommended." Criterion-referenced tests, so important to the work of educators, are not included in the guide.

User's Guide

The Purpose Of The Handbook
The Need For The Handbook
Contents Of The Handbook
Making The Handbook Useful For Educators
Defending Your Testing
Key Testing Issues
Accountability Testing
In Defense Of Teacher-Made Tests

Part 1- Admission Testing and Decision-Making

Introduction: Factors affecting admission testing are analyzed.
College Admission Tests: 6 published tests are reviewed.
Admission To The Education Profession: Certification tests. All PRAXIS tests are reviewed,
Early Childhood School Admission Tests: 14 published readiness tests are reviewed.

Part 2 - Placement Testing And Decision-Making

Introduction: Requirements of placement testing are discussed. Placement Tests: 22 published tests are reviewed.

Part 3 - Instructional Prescription Testing And Decision-Making

Introduction: The appropriate use of instructional prescription tests is reviewed.
Reading Tests: 8 published tests are reviewed.
Mathematics Tests: 4 published tests are reviewed.
Spoken And Written Language Tests: 13 published tests are reviewed.

Part 4 - Achievement Certification Testing And Decision-Making

Introduction: Achievement certification issues are probed.
Multi-Skill Academic Achievement Tests: 11 published tests are reviewed.
Individual Skill Achievement Tests: 8 published tests are reviewed.

Part 5 - Referral Testing And Decision-Making

Introduction: Educators are shown how to use tests to make referral decisions.
Procedures for assessing vision, perceptual-motor, adaptation and behavior problems are reviewed.
Observational Procedures
Informal Testing Procedures
Formal Testing Procedures: 16 published tests are reviewed.

Part 6 - Criteria For Evaluating Educational Practices

Introduction: Guidelines for using criteria in evaluations are presented.
Evidence-Based Criteria
Standards As Criteria: Standards established by 25 professional organizations for evaluating educational personnel and programs are reviewed.

Index of Test Titles
Index of Test Acronyms
Characteristics Index
Directory of Educational Test Publishers
Test Classification Index
Index Of Test Authors
Index of Authors
About the Authors Of The Handbook

"Myles Friedman has performed a great service for educators and policy makers by demystifying a large number of test instruments. The task of test selection has just become easier." - Arthur Stellar, Ph.D., President High / Scope Educational Research Foundation, Former School Superintendent, Past President of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

"The handbook is a rich resource for helping busy teachers and administrators make better decisions. I sincerely hope that every school in the U.S. buys at least one copy and makes it available to their teachers." - Lawrence W. Lezotte, Ph.D., Educational Consultant and Commentator, Effective School Products, Former Chair Department of Educational Administration, Michigan State University

"Your book is needed... it will serve as a clarifying tool...encouraging educators that they too can take control of an area of instruction that has intimidated many a teacher and principal." - Arnold F. Fege, President, Public Advocacy for Kids, Former member of the National Testing Panel

"Best of luck with this very useful book. Its contents will be a great help to us when we start our next test revision cycle." Donald Hammill, Ed.D. President Pro-Ed Educational Test Publications

"The six authors produced an excellent resource. It provides easy to understand information on tests relevant to effective educational decision making..." Reviewed May, 2004, in The School Administrator by Donna S. McCaw, Associate Professor of Educational Administration, Western Illinois University.

"The authors make a powerful case for their work, arguing that standard guides to testing are aimed at the psychometricians who create the tests than at the educators who must administrate them and make real-life decisions about a student's education based on the results. Recommended...." Reviewed in the Library Journal, August, 2003 by Scott Walker, Washington State University.

For information about the Authors and Reviewers, Click Here

Aileen C. Lau-Dickinson has earned a doctorate in Special Education Administration, a Master's in Speech Science, Bachelor's in Speech Education. She is certified in speech correction, mental retardation, visually handicapped, speech and drama, and as a school psychologist. She has taught numerous courses in assessment. She is currently in private practice assessing and teaching students with learning difficulties. She received the Frank R. Kleffner Clinical Career Award by the South Carolina Speech - Language - Hearing Association. Dr. Dickinson has a number of publications and presentations on developmental assessment and instruction.

Myles I. Friedman is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of South Carolina. A renowned educator and author, his books include Rational Behavior, Teaching Reading and Thinking Skills, Improving Teacher Education, Teaching Higher Order Thinking Skills to Gifted Students, Taking Control: Vitalizing Education, Ensuring Student Success, Improving the Quality of Life, and with Steven P. Fisher, Handbook On Effective Instructional Strategies. He spent more than 30 years conducting and applying research to improve education. Dr. Friedman's Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Educational Psychology were earned at the University of Chicago.

Charles W. Hatch is President of CWH Consulting Company, Newberry, SC. He earned the Master of Arts in Teaching at Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. in Educational Research and Measurement at the University of South Carolina. He has taught college courses in tests and measurement, statistics, and test preparation. Dr. Hatch has published an Introductory Handbook for Statistical Package Programming and on predicting freshman retention. He has served as a consultant on test preparation, college retention, and microcomputers and software.

Jacqueline E Jacobs is Associate Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policies, University of South Carolina. She has earned a Bachelor's degree in Special Education and Elementary Education, a Master's in Curriculum and Supervision, and a Doctorate in Special Education Administration. She served as a teacher and won an Outstanding Principal Award. She teaches courses in evaluation and measurement in special education. Her publications include articles on the role of the principal, reading recovery, and kids killing kids in school.

Amanda Nickerson is an Assistant Professor of School Psychology in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology at the University of Albany, SUNY. She has taught classes on emotion, motivation, personality development and psychopathology, and has worked in the Devereaux Day School, Downington, PA. She also received a doctoral Leadership Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Dr. Nickerson has published on the subject of essential skills for direct care professionals, parent and peer relationships, crisis intervention, violence prevention, and has received a research grant to study intimacy and pro-social behavior in early adolescents.

Katherine C. Schnepel is a self-employed research and measurement consultant. She has earned Master's and Doctorate degrees in Educational Research and Measurement and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. She has served as an adjunct professor in the Departments of Educational Psychology and Educational Leadership and Policy, University of South Carolina. She has made presentations on testing and measurement and mastery learning and has been employed as a research and measurement specialist at Richland School District One, Columbia, SC. Subjects she has taught include test item writing, interpreting test scores, measuring student achievement, and program evaluation.