Operational Best Practices for Statewide Large-Scale Assessment Programs
|Publication date||June 2010|
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Share your thoughts on Version One, click here!In June 2006, the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) began discussions to identify and publish a set of voluntary, non-regulatory best practices for states and testing companies to use to strengthen implementation of statewide testing programs in the United States conducted under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The original idea for developing a Best Practices guide actually originated in the U.S. Department of Education. This concept reflected a belief that such a document would facilitate quality testing practices for the benefit of everyone affected by state testing programs, including schools, parents, and students. Regardless of future legislative changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), states and testing companies will always find advantages from understanding what procedures help to form quality testing practices.
In December 2006, ATP and its testing company members agreed to form a best practices working group (WG) to review sample documents and to create a template for writing best practices that would be clear and useful to testing companies and states. Over the next eight months, the WG met numerous times and produced preliminary materials. CCSSO received periodic reports about this work, including a presentation at the Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC) meeting in October 2007. Before the end of 2007, CCSSO agreed that representatives of the state assessment directors would join the WG and commence joint work to draft a formal document (Operational Best Practices). Since January, 2008, the expanded WG has worked diligently to develop this Best Practices document, which covers all major components of operating a largescale state assessment program, from procurement to reporting test scores. The topics covered by the Best Practices are central to the tasks of designing, developing, administering, and scoring state assessments, and reporting state assessment results. Moreover, the operating practices described are considered to be reasonable and feasible, each having been reviewed carefully by both state assessment program leaders and testing industry veterans who are very familiar with the complexities of specific functions of state testing programs (e.g., program management, shipping of materials, test administration, etc.).
Inasmuch as the scope of the Operational Best Practices is limited to large-scale state assessment programs, the WG acknowledges that this document may not be precisely applicable to all testing protocols and systems, including those used on an international basis. Nevertheless, ATP and CCSSO believe that this document provides a solid framework from which others might seek to define a set of practices tailored to their testing programs; accordingly, ATP and CCSSO encourage others to use this document for that purpose. Moreover, the two organizations fully recognize that the testing process is not static; therefore, they expect that the Best Practices will be reviewed on a periodic basis, updated to account for changes in technology or testing methodologies (e.g., a growing reliance on online testing), to ensure that content remains viable.
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