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What Can We Learn From International Assessments? IAEP

Mislevy, Robert J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Data Interpretation, Educational Assessment, International Assessment of Educational Progress (IAEP), International Programs, Statistical Analysis


This paper examines several issues in interpreting and inferring from results of international assessments. These issues include: 1) the nature of evidence and inference in general; 2) population definition and sampling plans; 3) assessment exercises and background variables; and 4) statistical advances and inferential limitations. It is concluded that, "international assessments convey context, clues, and current conditions" to provide useful information to help nations improve schooling, but that, "after a point, a dollar spent on international assessment...tells less for improving education than the same dollar spent to obtain different, complementary, kinds of information, as from field experiments, close observation of classroom processes, and investigations of cognitive aspects of learning." (JGL) (39pp.)

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