Why construct meaningful measures on a clearly defined variable? Aren't the old ways good enough?
Here are some defects in those old ways according to Zalman Usiskin in "If everybody counts, why do so few survive?" Glenview Il: Scott, Foresman. 1990.
"Normed grades result in moving standards. Regardless of whether they have earned them, if a teacher gives students all A's or B's, in many schools the teacher's job would be in jeopardy. "The teacher grades too easy." Success is not for all, particularly in mathematics. And so the teacher makes questions hard enough so that some are sure to fail. This goes back to the myth that you either have it or you don't. And there are levels of having it - Becky is a B student, Charles a C student. What is wrong with giving all students A's?"
"Five hundred years ago, the arithmetic we teach in 4th grade, namely partial product multiplication and long division, was a college subject. It was unfamiliar and new and, therefore, thought to be difficult. This is no longer the case. Mathematics is easier today. Numbers are everywhere. We have better algorithms, among them punching the keys on a calculator. Our subject is getting easier, so more should succeed."
"Another pernicious practice is the normed test which gives grade-level equivalents or percentiles. the problem here is that someone has to fall below the 50th percentile; in fact, half the population has to fall there. This tells you nothing absolute about how well they are performing."
Normed Tests demand failure! Usiskin Z. Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1991, 5:3, 158
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