12 Pages

Module 1. Introduction and Overview

T housands of important, and sometimes life-altering, decisions are made every day. Who should we hire? Which students should be placed in accelerated or remedial programs? Which defendants should be incarcerated and which paroled? Which treatment regimen will work best for a given client? Should custody of this child be granted to the mother or the father or the grandparents? In each of these situations, a “test” may be used to help provide guidance. There are many vocal opponents to the use of standardized tests to make such decisions. However, the bottom line is that these critical decisions will ultimately be made with or without the use of test information. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Can a better decision be made with the use of relevant test information?” In many, although not all, instances, the answer will be yes, if a well-developed and appropriate test is used in combination with other relevant, well-justified information available to the decision maker. The opposition that many individuals have to standardized tests is that they are the sole basis for making an important, sometimes life-altering, decision. Thus, it would behoove any decision maker to take full advantage of other relevant, well-justified information, where available, to make the best and most informed decision possible.