Looking at Assessment Through Learning-Colored Lenses

  • W. James Popham
Part of the The Enabling Power of Assessment book series (EPAS, volume 1)


For almost 100 years, American educators have relied on a comparison-focused conception of educational measurement—a conception contributing little to students’ learning. This chapter describes the pivotal role of a famous World War I aptitude test in fostering this perception of assessment. It identifies the nature and the potential contributions of criterion-referenced measurement, along with the admonition that even assessments yielding criterion-referenced interpretations must be carefully evaluated. In addition to explicitly describing what a given test measures, tests that contribute to an assessment-for-learning strategy must provide instructionally actionable results. This chapter argues that educational tests must be perceived not in a traditional manner but, rather, from a learning perspective.


Instructional Actionability Educational Test Criterion Domain American Educator Educational Assessment 
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  1. Glaser, R. (1963). Instructional technology and the measurement of learning outcomes: Some questions. American Psychologist, 18, 519–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Popham, W. J., & Husek, T. (1969). Implications of criterion-referenced measurement. Journal of Educational Measurement, 6(1), 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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