Friday, February 15, 2013

Testing Integrity: Issues and Recommendations for Best Practices

Recent news reports of widespread or suspected cheating on standardized tests in several school districts around the country have been taken by some as evidence that we must reduce reliance on testing to measure student growth and achievement. Others have gone even farther, claiming that cheating is an inevitable consequence of “high-stakes testing” and that we should abandon testing altogether. To be sure, there are lessons to be learned from these jarring incidents, but the existence of cheating says nothing about the merits of testing. Instead, cheating reflects a willingness to lie at children’s expense to avoid accountability—an approach I reject entirely.

– U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, The Washington Post, July 19, 2011
  The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has just released a report entitled, "Testing Integrity: Issues and Recommendations for Best Practice."

This report is part of a broader effort by the U.S. Department of Education to identify and disseminate practices and policies to assist efforts to improve the validity and reliability of assessment results. The report draws upon the opinions of experts and practitioners who responded to the Department’s Request for Information (RFI), the comments and discussions from NCES’ Testing Integrity Symposium, and, where available, policy manuals or professional standards published by State Education Agencies (SEAs) and professional associations.

The report focuses on four areas related to testing integrity:
  1. The prevention of irregularities in academic testing;
  2. The detection and analysis of testing irregularities;
  3. The response to an investigation of alleged and/or actual misconduct;
  4. Testing integrity practices for technology-based assessments.
The report is available:

The National Center for Education Statistics is part of the Institute of Education Sciences, within the U.S. Department of Education.

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