Guest Editorial: Performance contracts and test errors

Stake, Robert E.; Wardrop, James L.
March 1971
Reading Research Quarterly;Spring1971, Vol. 6 Issue 3, p323
Academic Journal
The article comments on performance contracts and errors in the gain scores of children in a reading program in the U.S. Performance contracts pay off on an individual-student basis. The student is to be tested, taught, and retested with a commercially published achievement test. Scores can be reported in terms of the grade equivalent. The contractor might be reimbursed for the remedial training of each student who shows at least one year's gain in grade-equivalent scores. Test experts have demonstrated that such gain scores are unreliable. According to them, the unreliability of gain scores can assure the appearance of learning even when there is no learning at all. Under some circumstances the authors' suppose that performance contracting is an appropriate remedy for a school district's reading problems. Individual student gain on a currently available standardized test should not be used as a criterion of successful learning or instruction.


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