ERIC Number: EJ951175
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Abstractor: As Provided
Test Development with Performance Standards and Achievement Growth in Mind
Ferrara, Steve; Svetina, Dubravka; Skucha, Sylvia; Davidson, Anne H.
Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, v30 n4 p3-15 Win 2011
Items on test score scales located at and below the Proficient cut score define the content area knowledge and skills required to achieve proficiency. Alternately, examinees who perform at the Proficient level on a test can be expected to be able to demonstrate that they have mastered most of the knowledge and skills represented by the items at and below the Proficient cut score. It is important that these items define intended knowledge and skills, especially increasing levels of knowledge and skills, on tests that are intended to portray achievement growth across grade levels. Previous studies show that coherent definitions of growth occur often as a result of good fortune rather than by design. In this paper, we use grades 3, 4, and 5 mathematics tests from a state assessment program to examine how well (a) descriptors for Proficient performance define achievement growth across grades, and (b) the knowledge and skill demands of test items that define Proficient performance at each grade level may or may not define achievement growth coherently. Our purpose is to demonstrate (a) the results of one state assessment program's first attempt to train item writers to hit assigned proficiency level targets, and (b) how those efforts support and undermine coherent inferences about what it means to achieve Proficient performance from one grade to the next. Item writers' accuracy in hitting proficiency level targets and resulting inferences about achievement growth are mixed but promising.
Descriptors: Knowledge Level, Mathematics Tests, Program Effectiveness, Inferences, Test Items, Testing Programs, Test Construction, Educational Testing, Cutting Scores, Educational Assessment, Student Evaluation, Evaluation Problems, Standards, Elementary School Mathematics, Achievement Gains, State Programs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 3; Grade 4; Grade 5
Authoring Institution: N/A