Introduction

In Public Law 105-78, enacted November 13, 1997, the U.S. Congress called on the National Research Council to “conduct a feasibility study to determine if an equivalency scale can be developed that would allow test scores from commercially available standardized tests and state assessments to be compared with each other and the National Assessment of Educational Progress” (NAEP) (Sec. 306). Simply stated, the question before the committee is whether reliable relationships (“linkages”) can be established between the scores obtained from existing commercially produced tests, state educational assessments, and NAEP.

To carry out this charge, the National Research Council, through its Board on Testing and Assessment, established the Committee on Equivalency and Linkage of Educational Tests in January 1998. This interim report, which is required by the legislation, presents the committee's findings and conclusions on the basis of its work to date.

To accomplish its work, the committee is analyzing data on state educational assessments, consulting with other experts and practitioners involved in test design and implementation, and reviewing past and current research on linking tests. As stipulated by the law authorizing the study, we are conferring with representatives of the House and Senate education committees, the White House, the National Assessment Governing Board, the National Governors' Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The request for the study arose in the context of congressional debate about the proposed voluntary national tests. Although our findings and conclusions may be relevant to certain technical issues in the debate over the national tests, we take no position on their overall technical or policy merits.

Under its charge, the committee will continue to analyze information and data and deliberate for 3 more months. Our work will conclude with a final report in September 1998. That report will present a more detailed research review, explain more fully the issues involved in test linking, and elaborate the findings and conclusions in this interim report.



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EQUIVALENCY AND LINKAGE OF EDUCATIONAL TESTS: INTERIM REPORT Introduction In Public Law 105-78, enacted November 13, 1997, the U.S. Congress called on the National Research Council to “conduct a feasibility study to determine if an equivalency scale can be developed that would allow test scores from commercially available standardized tests and state assessments to be compared with each other and the National Assessment of Educational Progress” (NAEP) (Sec. 306). Simply stated, the question before the committee is whether reliable relationships (“linkages”) can be established between the scores obtained from existing commercially produced tests, state educational assessments, and NAEP. To carry out this charge, the National Research Council, through its Board on Testing and Assessment, established the Committee on Equivalency and Linkage of Educational Tests in January 1998. This interim report, which is required by the legislation, presents the committee's findings and conclusions on the basis of its work to date. To accomplish its work, the committee is analyzing data on state educational assessments, consulting with other experts and practitioners involved in test design and implementation, and reviewing past and current research on linking tests. As stipulated by the law authorizing the study, we are conferring with representatives of the House and Senate education committees, the White House, the National Assessment Governing Board, the National Governors' Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures. The request for the study arose in the context of congressional debate about the proposed voluntary national tests. Although our findings and conclusions may be relevant to certain technical issues in the debate over the national tests, we take no position on their overall technical or policy merits. Under its charge, the committee will continue to analyze information and data and deliberate for 3 more months. Our work will conclude with a final report in September 1998. That report will present a more detailed research review, explain more fully the issues involved in test linking, and elaborate the findings and conclusions in this interim report.