Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reporting Test Results to Parents

As promised in last weeks post, Limitations of Test Scores, the National Association of School Psychologists created a handout entitled, "Using and Understanding Test Scores - A Hand-out for Teachers" by Andrea Canter, Minneapolis Schools and I wanted to share not only the limitations of test scores, but how test results should be reported to parents.

According to NASP, "Parents are often overwhelmed by the test reports they receive from school personnel. In order to help establish a true partnership between parents and teachers, it is essential that information about student progress be communicated clearly, respectfully, and accurately. Test results should be provided to parents using:
  • Simple, clear language free from educational and test jargon
  • Explanations of the purpose(s) of the tests used
  • Brief descriptions of the test procedure(s)
  • Scores appropriate to the test's purpose
  • Clear explanations of the meaning of test scores
  • Information about the limitations of the test scores
  • Corroborating information from other sources
  • Opportunities for parents to ask questions about scores, testing, etc.
  • Information about how the test results will be used.
  Raw scores and percentiles, when appropriate to the tests used, are generally the most easily explained and familiar types of scores to report to parents. A visual reference may also be helpful, particularly in explaining the concept of "average." Numbers can be misleading and in some cases frightening; it is important for parents to understand the limitations of any test score and to receive a comprehensive picture of their child's performance, not just test results."
The following texts provide an overview of assessment issues for educators, including test scores:
Hamill, D. (1987) Assessing the Abilities and Instructional Needs of Students. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
Salvia, J. & Ysseldyke, J. (1988) Assessment in Special and Remedial Education, 4th Edition. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin 

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