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This research brief describes work documented in What Happened to Test Scores, and Why? (RP-278).

Excerpt: Whenever education is the topic, test scores are almost always part of the debate. Over the last two decades, test scores have been cited, variously, as sure and certain signs of U.S. educational decline or as indicators that particular types of reform are "working." In a recent article, Daniel Koretz drew upon a body of his own and others' research to sort out how the reform debate has used test scores, what has really happened to them and why, and what the answers imply for future debate. According to Koretz, the record shows "characteristically simplistic use of test score data in the public debate" and the unfortunate tendency to believe that test scores alone really measure the effectiveness of education.

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