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Dean of Education's Colloquium Series

Education & Innovation

Testing System Shaken to its Core: What Does it Mean for Tests to be Insensitive to Instruction? 


Walter Stroup headshot

Walter M. Stroup completed his doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with Professor Judah Schwartz serving as his Advisor. Currently he is an Associate Professor of STEM Education appointed within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Texas at Austin.  His research interests include the mathematics of change (calculus), systems dynamics and complexity theory, generative activity design for group-based learning and teaching, innovation in highly-interactive, network-mediated classroom technology design, validity issues related to high-stakes testing, and systemic reform.  While at UT he helped lead the complete restructuring and integration of the cross-colleges (Education, Natural Science, and Engineering) graduate program and developed a nationally recognized, cross colleges, secondary certification program called UTeach STEM.  The UTeach program now has more than 450 STEM majors enrolled at UT Austin and more 6000 students enrolled across the forty-four campuses implementing the UTeach model in the United States ( 

Presentation Abstract: Abstract:  The presentation will address the question of what does it mean for tests to be insensitive to instruction in two ways.  The first is an overview of the psychometrics and centers on a question posed to the State Legislature in Texas in 2010:  “What is the evidence, at scale, that the tests are sufficiently sensitive to differences in instruction, or other school input factors, to warrant their continued use as part of a high-stakes accountability system?”  Major studies since suggest the tests are not adequately sensitive to what happens in schools.  Then, as a follow up question that has informed recent legislation, can this insensitivity to instruction implicate the validity of current test development and implementation model?  If the tests are not sufficiently sensitive to differences in instruction, what are they measuring?  The still-controversial response is that they are far more sensitive to a “test-taking ability” that is being treated as if it is an on-going measure of “college and career readiness.”  The analysis of the psychometrics issues will lead into a discussion of what the insensitivity to instruction means for students, teachers, schools and their communities.   Issues of equity will be highlighted.  The presentation will conclude with a brief discussion of possible alternative approaches to assessment that can be used at scale.

Dr. Stroup’s work has impacted state legislation in Texas

Greater New Haven Heart Walk 2016 

May 7th, Savin Rock West Haven beginning at 9 AM. 

The Greater New Haven Heart Walk is a noncompetitive three mile walk held annually in the spring. Funds raised support lifesaving research, education, and advocacy of cardiovascular disease and stroke while promoting a hearth-healthy lifestyle. Just last year in Connecticut alone, the American Heart Association awarded forty-three research awards totaling over nine million dollars. 

SCSU President, Dr. Mary Papazian is the event chair for this year's Greater New Haven Heart Walk. The walk will take place at Savin Rock, West Haven on Saturday, May 7, 2016 beginning at 9 AM. The School of Education has created a team within the Southern Connecticut State University community to help support this great cause. For even more details regarding the event, please see this PDF detailing the event, how donations make a difference and information on heart and stroke research conducted by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. 

For more information regarding the School of Education team, please visit our School of Education Team Page.