Report Offers Guidelines on How to Assess the Quality of Standardized Tests

Report Offers Guidelines on How to Assess the Quality of Standardized Tests

June 29, 2016

Under ESSA, states will receive additional funding to conduct audits on their testing systems ande ensure that they are accurately evaluating student performance. Stanford University’s Understanding Language/Center on Assessment, Learning and Equity (UL/SCALE) released a report that provides insights and guidelines on how to assess the quality of a standardized test. The report identifies the key features of high-quality assessment items:

  • A focus on core knowledge/concepts, “such as using evidence from texts in English language arts or emphasizing big ideas in science”;
  • Going beyond just facts or skills to “integrate conceptual understanding and knowledge”;
  • Wording prompts and materials to minimize “construct-irrelevant factors”, which is especially important for English language learners;
  • Scoring based on student reasoning, rather than an emphasis on a single conclusion;
  • Requiring students to use “materials that are authentic to the discipline”; and
  • Using technology make the test more accessible or raise its “cognitive complexity.”
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