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The Wiley Handbook of Cognition and Assessment: Frameworks, Methodologies, and Applications

Rupp, Andre A., and Leighton, Jacqueline P., eds.
Wiley, John & Sons, Inc., 2017

Book Review

Tags: assessment   |   educational assessment   |   learning and assessment

Reviewed by: Joanne Robinson, University of North Carolina - Charlotte
Date Reviewed: June 23, 2017

This is a book for assessment professionals; it is the rare teacher in higher education who would be able or willing to get this deep into the weeds of higher education assessment design and deployment. Many of the fifty-two authors contributing to this volume are affiliated with the Educational Testing Service and most seem to be practitioners of assessment for corporations or academic institutions. As the foreword clearly states, the authors are a mix of psychometricians and cognitive psychologists “bringing measurement science into real-world practice” (xx). The book is geared to a multidisciplinary audience, including “educational measurement researchers,” “assessment development practitioners,” and graduate students interested in the measurement of cognition. It is not suitable for classroom teachers interested in exploring course or program assessment.

The greatest value of this volume for the average faculty member at any type of institution will be to provide a lens through which to view the many requests from higher administration to comply with particular types of assessment practices. The first part of the book, which comprises ten chapters, covers frameworks for assessment, and several of the earlier articles in this section are general enough to provide useful insight into assessment protocols. Most of the other two sections, focusing on Methodologies (six chapters) and Applications (seven chapters), are so detailed and technical as to be inaccessible to non-professionals in the field of assessment. A few articles stand apart from this: “Assessing and Supporting Hard-to-Measure Constructs in Video Games” by Valerie Shute and Lubin Wang, and “Conversation-Based Assessment” by G. Tanner Jackson and Diego Zapata-Rivera – both provide interesting alternative visions for approaching assessment and offer promising departures from the typical standardized written assessment.

This volume is full of cutting-edge research on cognition and assessment couched in language inaccessible to those outside the field. The brief “Final Words” section contains a plea that classroom faculty should note: “in order for the work in this Handbook to have the best chance of finding its way into practice, we need to be ambassadors of this research while understanding that it will require time, patience, and functional prototypes to persuade clients and users to believe the scientific and social evidence” (586). This is not the entry-level volume that will allow faculty to help as ambassadors of this sort. This anthology will be of interest primarily to those whose professional focus for research or practice is cognition and assessment in education.

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