Tipping the Scales: Social Justice and Educational Measurement
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CitationStein, Zachary. 2014. Tipping the Scales: Social Justice and Educational Measurement. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractIn this work I address foundational concerns at the interface of educational measurement and social justice. Following John Rawls’s philosophical methods, I build and justify an ethical framework for guiding practices involving educational measurement. This framework demonstrates that educational measurement is critical to insuring, or inhibiting, just educational arrangements. It also clarifies a principled distinction between efficiency-oriented testing and justice-oriented testing. In order to explore the feasibility and utility of this proposed framework, I employ it to analyze several historical case studies that exemplify the ethical issues related to testing: (1) the widespread use of IQ-style testing in schools during the early decades of the 20th century; (2) the founding of the Educational Testing Service; and (3) the recent history of test-based accountability associated with No Child Left Behind. I conclude with a set of speculative design principles and arguments in favor of radically democratic school reforms, which address how the future of testing might be shaped to ensure justice for all.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13383548