, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 71-84

Lies, damn lies, and statistics revisited a comparison of three methods of representing change

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Numerous authors have argued that change is fundamental to the education process, and that the measurement of change is an essential element in efforts to assess the quality and effectiveness of postsecondary education. Despite widespread support for the concept of studying student growth and development, many researchers have been critical of existing methods of representing change. Intended for assessment practitioners and educational researchers, this study examines three methods of measuring change: (1) gain scores, (2) residual scores, and (3) repeated measures. Analyses indicate that all three methods are seriously flawed, although repeated measures offer the greatest potential for adequately representing student growth and development.

Paper Presented at the Thirty-First Annual Forum of the Association for Institutional Research, San Francisco, May 26–29 1991.
Approximately 10 percent of the cost of this research was supported by a $2000 grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) via the AAHE Assessment Forum.
Part of the title for this paper is borrowed from Michael Wheeler (1976),Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics: The Maniupulation of Public Opinion in America, New York, Dell.