The following recommendations represent a selection of the findings and recommendations presented in the report (pp. 275–290).
Decisions regarding appropriate use of tests should be based on the following principles:
– “First, the important thing about a test is not its validity in general, but its validity when used for a specific purpose.
– Second, tests are not perfect. Test questions are a sample of possible questions that could be asked in a given area. Moreover, a test score is not an exact measure of a student's knowledge or skills.
– Third, an educational decision that will have a major impact on a test taker should not solely or automatically be made on the basis of a single test score.
– Finally, neither a test score nor any other kind of information can justify a bad decision.” (p. 275)
“Accountability for educational outcomes should be a shared responsibility of states, school districts, public officials, educators, parents, and students. High standards cannot be established and maintained merely by imposing them on students.” (p. 278)
“As tracking is currently practiced, low-track classes are typically characterized by an exclusive focus on basic skills, low expectations, and the least-qualified teachers. Students assigned to low-track classes are worse off than they would be in other placements. This form of tracking should be eliminated. Neither test scores nor other information should be used to place students in such classes.” (p. 282)
“Scores from large-scale assessment should never be the only sources of information used to make a promotion or retention decision. No single source of information—whether test scores, course grades, or teacher judgments—should stand alone in making promotion decisions. Test scores should always be used in combination with other sources of information about student achievement.” (p. 286)
“The quality of the process of setting a cutscore on a graduation test should be documented and evaluated—including the qualifications of the judges employed, the method or methods employed, and the degree of consensus reached.” (p. 290)
“Students who fail should have opportunities to retake any test used in making promotion decisions. This implies that tests used in making promotion decisions should have alternate forms.” (p. 287)