content specifications, and limited progress had been made in assessing all students accurately. Improvements such as computer-based testing and automated scoring need to become both more feasible in the short run and more sustainable in the long run.

In Wise’s view, widespread adoption of common standards might help with these challenges in two ways: (1) by pooling their resources, states could get more for the money they spend on assessment, and (2) interstate collaboration is likely to facilitate deeper cognitive analysis of standards and objectives for student performance than is possible with separate standards.

Cost Savings

The question of how much states could save by collaborating on assessment begins with the question of how much they are currently spending to do it on their own. Savings would be likely to be limited to test development, since many per-student costs for administration, scoring, and reporting, would not be affected, so Wise focused on an informal survey he had done of development costs (Wise, 2009). (Wise’s sample included 15 state testing programs and a few test developers, and included only total contract costs, not internal staff costs.) The results are shown in Table 5-1.

Perhaps most notable was the wide range in what states are spending, as shown in the minimum and maximum columns. Wise also noted that on aver-

TABLE 5-1 Average State Development and Administration Costs by Assessment Type

Assessment Type

N

Mean

S.D.

Min.

Max.

Annual Development Costs (in thousands of dollars)

Alternate

9

363

215

100

686

Regular-ECR

13

1,329

968

127

3,600

Regular-MC Only

5

551

387

220

1130

Administrative Cost per Student (in dollars)

Alternate

9

376

304

40

851

Regular-ECR

16

26

18

4

65

Regular-MC Only

6

3

3

1

9

NOTES: Extended-constructed-response (ECR) tests include writing assessments and other tests requiring human scoring using a multilevel scoring rubric. Multiple-choice (MC) tests are normally machine scored. Because the results incorporate a number of different contracts, they reflect varying grade levels and subjects, though most included grades 3-8 mathematics and reading.

SOURCE: Wise (2009, p. 4).



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