ence, which will allow them to use these results in evaluating the stringency of their achievement standards.

Setting Achievement Standards for a System of Assessments

Although there are many different ways to set achievement standards, further options are needed. The most common methods used to set achievement levels, such as the modified Angoff or bookmark methods, were designed for use on a single test. Although the committee did not evaluate them, we identified several methods for setting achievement standards when multiple measures are used. These methods include the body of work method (Kingston, Kahl, Sweeney, and Bay, 2001); the judgmental policy capturing method (Jaeger, 1995) and the construct mapping method (Wilson and Draney, 2002). All of these methods have been tried with some success on a limited scale; however, this is an area in which research is clearly needed, as states will need help in implementing standard-setting strategies or systems of assessment that include multiple measures of student achievement.


In responding to the requirements of NCLB, states will need to review their science standards and the documents that serve to elaborate the standards, and they may need to modify them in significant ways. We urge states to use the principles outlined in this chapter as a guide, and we pose questions that states can use as they consider possible improvements to their science standards.

Question 4-1: Have the state’s science standards been elaborated to provide explicit guidance to teachers, curriculum developers, and the state testing contractors about the skills and knowledge that are required?

Question 4-2: Have the state’s science standards been reviewed by an independent body to ensure that they are reasonable in scope, accurate, clear, and attainable; reflect the current state of scientific knowledge; focus on ideas of significance; and reflect current understanding of the ways in which students learn science?

Question 4-3: Does the state have in place a regular cycle (preferably no longer than 8 to 10 years) for reviewing and revising its standards, during which time is allowed for development of new standards as needed; implementation of those standards; and then evaluation by a panel of experts to inform the next iteration of review and revision? Has the state set aside resources and developed both long-and short-term strategies for this to occur?

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