lishing priorities for curriculum, instruction, and assessment, then the required evaluations of alignment cannot serve their purpose.

We begin with a look at professional standards for assessment quality.

AERA, APA, and NCME Standards

The most recent edition of Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and National Council on Measurement in Education, 1999) articulates professional standards regarding assessment validity and quality. This document describes specific standards for test construction, evaluation, and documentation; fairness in testing; and test applications. It makes clear that the sponsors of any assessment have the responsibility to ensure that adequate evidence supports the uses intended for the assessment. The Standards emphasizes validity as the most fundamental consideration in test development and use, and it identifies the sources of evidence supporting validity. The Standards explains that evidence based on analysis of test content, response processes, internal structure, and relations to other variables, as well as evidence based on the consequences of testing, are all important.

The Standards addresses other issues as well and provides specific guidance regarding reliability; measurement error; scaling, norms, and score comparability; the process of test development and revision; test administration, scoring, and reporting; and the need for supporting documentation for tests. Separate sections address the rights and responsibilities of test takers and specifically the standards that apply to the testing of those with limited English proficiency and those with disabilities.

The National Science Education Standards

The assessment standards defined in the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996), which reflect the views of professional scientists across the country, address many of the same concerns. They highlight four points:

  1. Assessments must be consistent with the decisions they are designed to inform.

  2. Achievement and opportunity to learn must be assessed.

  3. The technical quality of the data collected should be well matched to the decisions and actions taken based on interpretations of those data.

  4. Assessment practices must be fair.

Moreover, the standards explicitly include classroom assessments within their purview. The document was innovative in detailing the role of teachers as asses-



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