Director: Richard J. Shavelson




Dissertation Research


Stanford Education Assessment Laboratory

SEAL conducts research on the measurement and judgment of people's performance in education and work. Its assessment research is both conceptual and methodological (psychometric, statistical, qualitative). SEAL seeks to inform practice, policy, methods and theory.

In our K-12 science education work, for example, we conceive of achievement as involving four types of knowledge: declarative-"knowing that"; procedural-"knowing how"; schematic-"knowing why"; and strategic-"knowing about knowing." Our recent research focuses on linking different assessment methods (multiple-choice, constructed-response, concept map, performance assessment, and student science notebooks) with this conceptual framework. We achieve this linking through logical, statistical model fitting and cognitive ("think aloud") analyses. The lab's K-12 measurement research involves working closely with teachers, curriculum developers, science educators and scientists in the construction of science education assessments. We evaluate the assessments along psychometric, cost, classroom use and social impact lines, especially as embedded in science curricula.

Other work focuses on the link between assessment and accountability in both pre-college and higher education. Of particular interest are accountability policies that include assessment of learning. Again, we focus both on conceptual and measurement issues. Conceptually, a central issue is understanding the match or mismatch between the outputs that are measured and the outcomes that are highly valued educational goals. Methodologically, we focus on methods for assessing learning that link classroom instruction to the larger accountability arena.