The Measurement of Attainment
The measuring of attainment is not an activity of recent date. It has always, in one form or another, been a part of the teaching-learning situation. Teachers desire to know the effectiveness of their tuition. Teachers are interested in the relative success of individual pupils and they are concerned with the specific mistakes and weaknesses of the groups with which they are immediately concerned. Survey tests in a very direct sense have their prototypes in the routine class examinations which are conducted in written or oral form by teachers in their own classrooms or within the limits of their own schools. In the 1880s F. V. Edgeworth, with illustrations provided by Bryant from the marking of a variety of subjects, discussed the element of chance in teachers' marks. The essential difference between the old examining and the new lies not in the length of the questions but in their wording and in the definiteness of the thinking which is behind their formulation.