the relationships between test results and other measures of candidate knowledge and skill or on the extent to which tests distinguish minimally competent candidates from those who are not (coupled with a professionally acceptable method of identifying teachers who are and those who are not competent). The committee recognizes the complexity and likely costs of high-quality research of this type but believes that it is important to expand the knowledge base about teacher licensure testing.


This broader conception of validity is reflected in the committee’s framework for evaluating teacher licensure tests. The framework does not necessarily call for validity studies that examine the relationships between performance on the tests and future performance in the classroom. However, the committee does consider whether empirical evidence has been collected on the relationships between performance on licensure exams and other concurrent measures of knowledge and skills similar to those covered on the exams.

Issues of fairness also are prominent in the committee’s evaluation framework. The committee subscribes to the principle that each examinee should be tested in an equitable manner. Examinees should have adequate notice, equal access to sponsor-provided information about tests, high-quality standardized testing conditions, and assurance of accurate results. Further, issues of cultural diversity have a serious impact on all aspects of teaching, and differences in test results for minority and majority candidates have a notable impact on the composition of the teaching force. Cultural diversity and fairness issues are highlighted in every component of the evaluation framework that follows. The committee acknowledges that the evaluation criteria set forth here describe the ideal to which tests should aspire and that current tests are unlikely to fully achieve all of the evaluation criteria. The criteria are described below.

Purpose of Assessment

Proper development and use of an assessment require that its purposes are clearly stated and prioritized from the beginning. Assessment development activities can then follow. Of particular importance is a statement of the intended testing population. Regarding purpose, then, the criteria are:

  • the statement of purpose and rationale for the assessment should be clear;

  • multiple uses should be prioritized to guide assessment development and validation;

  • purposes should be communicated to all stakeholders;

  • issues associated with cultural diversity should be incorporated into statements of purpose; and

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement