Princeton, N.J. (July 30, 2015) – A video presentation of the 15th William H. Angoff Memorial Lecture, “Evaluating the Quality of Accountability Systems: Beyond Reliability and Validity,” is now available for viewing from Educational Testing Service (ETS). The lecture was delivered in April by Dr. Brian Gong of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment.
A full-length video (Flash, 1 hr. 26 min. 21 sec.) of the lecture is available as well as a short video interview (Flash, 10 min. 1 sec.) in which Dr. Gong talks about accountability systems, their impact and their consequences.
During his presentation at the National Press Club earlier this year, Dr. Gong discussed how the evaluation of accountability systems, including school accountability and educator evaluation, should be treated separately from the evaluation of achievement testing.
“The essential question I am interested in,” Gong said, “is, how can we tell whether an accountability system is good? Or more generally, how should we evaluate the quality of accountability systems? Evaluating them is inextricably tied to the questions we ask about accountability systems, and the procedures and evidence we use to answer those questions.”
In the video, Gong notes that it is becoming increasingly common for student assessment results to be applied in the process of evaluating schools, districts and teachers. “If this is the case, then it is important to consider not only the reliability and validity of student assessments, but also the system of evaluations made on their basis.”
“Many people assume that the same means of evaluating the quality of assessment instruments apply to accountability systems. I believe that valid and reliable assessments do not guarantee high-quality accountability systems. Evaluation of the quality of accountability systems should go beyond checking whether the assessments are valid and reliable,” Gong said.
In the video, he explains that accountability scores and decisions have their own characteristics regarding reliability and validity, and do not automatically inherit attributes of reliability or validity from the assessments upon which they are based. For example, he said, it is possible to have accountability decisions that are quite unreliable, even though the assessments out of which they are constructed are quite reliable. Similarly, he added, it is possible to have highly invalid accountability scores and decisions built upon valid assessments.
“ETS is pleased to offer the video of this insightful and informative lecture by one of our nation’s top educational researchers,” says Ida Lawrence, ETS Senior Vice President of Research and Development. “Dr. Gong’s lecture gives direction and focus to the challenge of designing accountability systems that are intended to inform public education policy. He makes it clear that, while quality assessments can be an important tool in improving schools, we also need good data and solid research to guide how we use data from assessments.”
About the Lecture Series
The Angoff Lecture Series was established in 1994 to honor the life and work of William H. Angoff, an ETS research scientist who distinguished himself as a prominent contributor in the field of educational measurement in more than 40 years at ETS. During that time, Angoff authored some of the classic publications on psychometrics, including the definitive text “Scales, Norms, and Equivalent Scores,” which appeared in Robert L. Thorndike's Educational Measurement (2nd edition). The lecture series honors Angoff's legacy by encouraging and supporting the relatively nontechnical discussion of public interest issues related to educational measurement.