Sandra Mathison University of British Columbia, Canada
Sandra Mathison is a Professor of Education at the University of British Columbia, Canada. She has been conducting evaluations, primarily in educational settings, for more than 25 years. She began her career as an internal evaluator at a Canadian community college and has subsequently conducted dozens of external evaluations and served as the Director of Evaluation for the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project for three years. Over these many years and through these many opportunities to do and study evaluation, she has developed an interest in and contributed to evaluation through her emphasis on democratic principles and possibilities. A deep concern for the limitations and limiting nature of evaluation in schools runs throughout her work. Now more than ever, the nature of evaluation within schools constrains what it means to adequately determine what is good and bad in schools, and thus limits the possibilities for improvement. Her current research focuses on these limits of evaluation in schools. With funding from the National Science Foundation, she is conducting research on the effects of high stakes testing on teaching and learning in elementary and middle schools. Mathison has written extensively about this topic in an effort to encourage a more informed public discourse about the value of schools and schooling. She chaired the American Evaluation Association task force that created a policy statement on high stakes testing in K-12 schooling. She is coeditor (with E. Wayne Ross) of Defending Public Schools: The Nature and Limits of Standards Based Reform and Assessment.