August 9, 2006
For immediate release
As part of a continuing effort to train K-12 teachers and administrators to understand better the myriad methods of measurement provided by standardized tests, Principal Investigator Rebecca Zwick of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School has just released the second handy and free web training module of the series “Instructional Tools in Educational Measurement and Statistics (ITEMS) for School Personnel.” This project, funded by a three-year, $478,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, provides engaging and informative animated lessons that will help school personnel use test results to make instructional decisions; test results to pinpoint schools, classes, or individuals that require additional instruction or resources; and, explain test results to students, parents, the school board, the press, and the general community.
Dr. Zwick, a professor at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, specializes in educational measurement and statistics, test fairness, test validity, and testing policy. Her work on “Instructional Tools in Educational Measurement and Statistics” is meant to fulfill a crucial need. Zwick says, “Most state licensing tests for teachers and principals do not include materials in educational testing and statistics, and many teacher certification programs do not offer much course work in that area, so there is a need for professional development for teachers, principals, and other school personnel who are being called upon to interpret test scores more and more.”
The second module of the training series – “What Test Scores Do and Don’t Tell Us” – follows the first module – “What’s the Score?” – that was released in 2005. Each module is tested by teachers and administrators and so far school personnel who watch the modules score better on knowledge tests than those who take the tests prior to watching the modules. Dr. Zwick hopes to have even more educators sign up for the research phase to develop module three, which will be completed in early 2007. In addition to increasing their assessment literacy and helping Zwick and her team create better training modules, those who take part in the research also receive a Borders gift certificate for participating.
[Interviews with Rebecca Zwick are available; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789.]