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National Assessments of Educational Achievement Series

Effective assessment of the performance of educational systems is a key component in developing policies to optimize the development of human capital around the world. The five books in the National Assessments of Educational Achievement series introduce key concepts in national assessments of student achievement levels, from policy issues to address when designing and carrying out assessments through test development, sampling, data cleaning, statistics, report writing, and the use of results to improve educational quality.

Book Series Launch Event:
Sept. 17, 2009 - Measuring National Levels of Student Achievement

Volume 1: Assessing National Achievement Levels in Education
English (PDF, 1.4MB) | Portuguese (PDF, 1.3MB)
Vincent Greaney and Thomas Kellaghan


This introductory book describes key national assessment concepts and steps, and is intended primarily for policy makers and decision makers in education. It includes a description of the purposes and main features of national assessments, reasons for carrying out these assessments, and key decisions that have to be made. The distinctions between national assessments and public examinations are clarified. The main features of national assessments in nine countries are described. The book also includes descriptions of the major international and regional assessments as well as the advantages and limitations of such assessments for measuring national levels of educational achievement.

Volume 2: Developing Tests and Questionnaires for a National Assessment of Educational Achievement
English (PDF, 1.2MB) | Portuguese (PDF, 1.4MB)
Prue Anderson and George Morgan


This book is aimed at national assessment teams and introduces them to the activities involved in the development of achievement tests. Topics covered include: developing an assessment framework, writing multiple-choice and constructed-response type items, pretesting, producing test booklets, and hand-scoring items. A section on questionnaire construction discusses designing questionnaires, writing questions, coding responses, and linking questionnaire and test score data. The final section covers the development of a test administration manual, selecting test administrators, and contacting sampled schools. A companion CD contains examples of released items from national and international tests, sample questionnaires, and administrative manuals.


Volume 3: Implementing a National Assessment of Educational Achievement (PDF, 5.9MB)
English (PDF, 5.9MB)
Vincent Greaney and Thomas Kellaghan


Section One of this book, which is primarily aimed at national assessment teams, focuses on practical issues to be addressed in implementing a large-scale national assessment program. It covers planning, budgeting, staffing, arranging facilities and equipment, contacting schools, selecting test administrators, packing and shipping, and ensuring test security. The second section includes a step-by-step guide designed to enable assessment teams to draw an appropriate national sample. It includes a CD with sampling software and a training dataset to be used in conjunction with the guide. Data cleaning and data management are treated in the final section. This section is also supported by a CD with step-by-step exercises to help users prepare national assessment data for analysis.


Volume 5: Using the Results of a National Assessment of Educational Achievement (PDF, 1.7MB)
English (PDF, 1.7MB) | Portuguese (PDF, 1.4MB)
Thomas Kellaghan, Vincent Greaney and T. Scott Murray

The final book in the series focuses on writing reports in a way that will influence policy. It introduces a methodology for designing a dissemination and communication strategy for a national assessment program. It also describes the preparation of the main report as well as technical reports, press releases, briefings for key policy makers, and reports for teachers and other specialist groups. The second section of the book highlights ways that countries have actually used the results of national assessments for policy making, curriculum reform, resource allocation, teacher training, accountability, and monitoring of changes in achievement and other variables over time.



Volume 4: Analyzing Data from a National Assessment of Educational Achievement
Fernando Cartwright and Gerry Shiel

This book is primarily aimed at national assessment teams. The first half of the book deals with the generation of item-level data using both classical test and item-response theory approaches. Topics addressed include analyzing pilot and final test items, monitoring change in performance over time, and developing performance or proficiency levels. The second half of the book is designed to help analysts carry out basic-level analysis of national assessment results and includes sections on measures of central tendency and dispersion, mean score differences, identification of high and low achievers, correlation, regression, and visual representation of data. This section is supported by a CD, which requires users to apply statistical procedures to datasets and to check their mastery levels against solutions depicted on screenshots in the text.

The Irish Educational Trust Fund generously supported the preparation and publication of this series.

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Last updated: 2009-09-23

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