Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2

FINAL REPORT

Committee on the Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2

Lauress L. Wise, Richard J. Noeth, and Judith A. Koenig, Editors

Board on Testing and Assessment

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, DC



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Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2: Final Report Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2 FINAL REPORT Committee on the Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2 Lauress L. Wise, Richard J. Noeth, and Judith A. Koenig, Editors Board on Testing and Assessment Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, DC

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Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2: Final Report NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. The study was supported by Contract/Grant No. RJ97184001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-06788-X Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue NW Washington, DC 20418 Call 800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area). This report is also available on line at http://www.nap.edu Printed in the United States of America Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Suggested citation: National Research Council (1999) Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2: Final Report. Committee on The Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2. Lauress L. Wise, Richard J. Noeth, and Judith A. Keonig, editors. Board on Testing and Assessment, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

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Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2: Final Report THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2: Final Report COMMITTEE ON THE EVALUATION OF THE VOLUNTARY NATIONAL TESTS, YEAR 2 LAURESS L. WISE (Chair), Human Resources Research Organization, Alexandria, Virginia ADRIENNE BAILEY, Consultant, Chicago, Illinois THOMAS COONEY, Department of Mathematics Education, University of Georgia JOHN T. GUTHRIE, Department of Human Development, University of Maryland ANNE HAFNER, Charter School of Education, California State University, Los Angeles ROBERT M. HAUSER, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison VONDA L. KIPLINGER, Colorado Department of Education, Denver MARJORIE Y. LIPSON, Department of Education, University of Vermont ALFRED MANASTER, Department of Mathematics, University of California, San Diego NANCY S. PETERSEN, ACT, Inc., Iowa City, Iowa RICHARD J. NOETH, Study Director JUDITH A. KOENIG, Program Officer KIMBERLY D. SALDIN, Senior Project Assistant

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Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2: Final Report BOARD ON TESTING AND ASSESSMENT ROBERT L. LINN (Chair), School of Education, University of Colorado CARL F. KAESTLE (Vice Chair), Department of Education, Brown University RICHARD C. ATKINSON, President, University of California PAUL J. BLACK, School of Education, King's College, London, England RICHARD P. DURÁN, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara CHRISTOPHER F. EDLEY, JR., Harvard School of Law, Harvard RONALD FERGUSON, John F. Kennedy School of Public Policy, Harvard University PAUL W. HOLLAND, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley ROBERT M. HAUSER, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison RICHARD M. JAEGER, School of Education, University of North Carolina, Greensboro LORRAINE MCDONNELL, Departments of Political Science and Education, University of California, Santa Barbara BARBARA MEANS, SRI, International, Menlo Park, California KENNETH PEARLMAN, Lucent Technologies, Inc., Warren, New Jersey ANDREW C. PORTER, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin, Madison CATHERINE E. SNOW, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University WILLIAM L. TAYLOR, Attorney at Law, Washington, DC WILLIAM T. TRENT, Associate Chancellor, University of Illinois, Champaign VICKI VANDAVEER, The Vandaveer Group, Inc., Houston, Texas LAURESS L. WISE, Human Resources Research Organization, Alexandria, Virginia KENNETH I. WOLPIN, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania MICHAEL J. FEUER, Director VIOLA C. HOREK, Administrative Associate LISA D. ALSTON, Administrative Assistant

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Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2: Final Report Preface President Clinton's 1997 proposal to create voluntary national tests in fourth grade reading and eighth grade mathematics did much to heighten the ongoing national debate about testing in America's schools. The National Research Council has been asked by Congress and the White House to play a key role in this debate by conducting several interrelated studies to provide advice on these important assessment issues. Through its Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA), the NRC issued three significant studies in 1998 to provide such advice: Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests: Phase 1 Report, Uncommon Measures: Equivalence and Linkage Among Educational Tests, and High Stakes: Testing for Tracking, Promotion, and Graduation. BOTA has continued this important work this year by conducting two further studies. These include the present year 2 Voluntary National Tests (VNT) evaluation described in this report and in Embedding Questions: The Pursuit of a Common Measure in Uncommon Tests. The NRC's approach to the second year of its VNT evaluation differed from the first year in several ways. First, the work was conducted by means of a traditional National Research Council committee rather than by co-principal investigators. The committee of ten experts in reading, mathematics, assessment, educational policy, and test use allowed the NRC to bring a wider range of expertise to the planning and conduct of the evaluation and reduced reliance on outside experts. The use of a study committee was related to the second change in the VNT evaluation, which is an expanded scope that included a continued principal focus on the quality of the items being developed, technical issues in test development, and inclusion and accommodation issues, as well as the tests' purpose and how the VNT would be used. This project would not have been possible without the generosity of many individuals and the contributions of several institutions. Staff from the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), under the leadership of Roy Truby, executive director, and the NAGB prime contractor, the American Institutes for Research (AIR), with Steve Ferrara and Archie LaPointe's guidance, were a valuable source of information and data on the

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Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2: Final Report design and development of the Voluntary National Tests. Sharif Shakrani, Steve Gorman, Raymond Fields, Mary Lyn Bourque, and Mary Crovo of NAGB and Steve Klein, Clayton Best, Ruth Childs, and Terry Salinger of AIR provided us with important information on numerous occasions. We benefited tremendously by attending and learning from discussions at meetings of the National Assessment Governing Board and meetings of its contractors; we thank them for opening their meetings to us and for sharing their knowledge and perspectives. We extend thanks to the staff of the cognitive laboratories and of Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement and Riverside Publishing for access to important information and their perspectives throughout the course of our work. We relied heavily on the input and advice of a cadre of testing and disciplinary experts, who provided helpful and insightful presentations at our workshops: Jamal Abedi, University of California; Pamela Beck, University of California; Jeffrey Choppin, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School; Gregory Cizek, University of Toledo; Jonathan Dings, Boulder Valley School District; Gretchen Glick, Defense Manpower Data Center; Anna Graeber, University of Maryland; Lorraine McDonnell, University of California; Rosemarie Montgomery, Hatboro, Pennsylvania; Lorrie Shepard, University of Colorado; Gale Sinatra, University of Utah; John Tanner, Delaware Department of Education; Wendy Yen, CTB/McGraw-Hill, and Catherine Yohe, Williamsburg Middle School. Our work was enriched by the stimulating intellectual exchange at the meeting and item quality workshop to which they contributed greatly. Carolyn Harris, Gene Hoffman, Sunny Sipes, Don Smith, and Art Thacker of Human Resources Research Organization provided important help and perspective throughout. They attended and reported on workshops, cognitive laboratories, bias review sessions, public hearings, and were valuable members of the evaluation team. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Daniel Heilborn, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco; Paul Holland, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley; Lyle V. Jones, L.L. Thurstone Psychometric Laboratory, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Michael J. Kolen, Iowa Testing Programs, University of Iowa; Duncan MacQuarrie, Department of Curriculum and Assessment, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington State Department of Education; Stephen Raudenbush, School of Education, University of Michigan; and Henry W. Riecken, Professor of Behavioral Sciences (emeritus), University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Although the individuals listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, it must be emphasized that responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. We are grateful to the many individuals at the National Research Council who provided guidance and assistance at many stages of the evaluation and during the preparation of the report. Barbara Torrey, executive director of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (CBASSE), helped and encouraged our work throughout. We are especially grateful to Eugenia Grohman, associate director for reports of CBASSE, for her advice on structuring the content of the

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Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2: Final Report report, for her expert editing of the manuscript, for her wise advice on the exposition of the report's main messages, and for her patient and deft guidance of the report through the NRC report process. We also are immensely grateful to Stephen Baldwin, Lee Jones, Patricia Morison, and Meryl Bertenthal, staff of the Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA), who made valuable contributions to our research and report. We express our gratitude to NRC administrative staff Viola Horek and Lisa Alston. We are especially grateful to Kimberly Saldin, who capably and admirably managed the operational aspects of the evaluation-arranging meeting and workshop logistics, producing multiple iterations of drafts and report text, and being available to assist with our requests, however large or small. We recognize the special contributions of Michael Feuer, BOTA director, and Karen Mitchell, senior program officer. Michael guided the project and, most important, made frequent contributions to the discussion and the framing of our questions and conclusions. Karen was a principal source of expertise in both the substance and process of the evaluation, and she provided continuous liaison between us and the staff of NAGB and AIR. Lauress Wise, Richard Noeth, and Judith Koenig, Editors Committee on the Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2

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Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2: Final Report Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction and History   3     Year 1 Evaluation   6     Test Specifications   6     Test Items   8     Pilot and Field Test Plans   8     Inclusion and Accommodation   8     Reporting Plans   9     Overview of Planned Year 2 Evaluation   9     Scope of Work   9     Interim Report   11     Report Purpose and Organization   11 2   Purpose and Use   12     The NAGB Process and Report   13     Two Scenarios   13     Public Comment Process   14     NAGB Proposals   14     Assessment and Recommendations   17 3   Item Quality and Readiness   21     Item Development   23     Item Status as of April 1999   23     Updated Status, Including New Items   26     Findings and Recommendations   27

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Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2: Final Report     Item Quality   30     Evaluation Process   31     Item Quality Rating Results   35     Conclusions and Recommendations   37     Matching VNT Items to NAEP Achievement-Level Descriptions   38     Contractor Workshop   39     Conclusions and Recommendations   40     Domain Coverage   42     Importance of Coverage   42     Conclusions and Recommendations   43 4   Technical Issues in Test Development   44     Pilot Test Plans   45     Forms Design   45     Forms Assembly and Item Survival Rates   48     Pilot Test Analyses   49     Differential Item Functioning   49     Assembling Field Test Forms   50     Special Forms for Below-Basic and Advanced Students   51     Linking VNT Scores to NAEP Achievement Levels   54 5   Inclusion and Accommodation   58     NAGB and AIR Activities   60     Initial Plans   60     Year 2 Plans   61     Conclusions and Recommendations   64     Year 1 Report   64     Next Steps   65 6   Reporting   68     Score Computation   69     Reporting Scale   70     Subscore Reporting   73     Item-Level Information   73     Aggregation   74 7   Conclusions and Recommendations   76     Test Purpose and Use   76     Item Quality and Readiness   77     Technical Issues in Test Development   78     Inclusion and Accommodation   79     Reporting   81     Summary Conclusions and Recommendation   81

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Evaluation of the Voluntary National Tests, Year 2: Final Report     References   84     Appendices     A   The National Assessment Governing Board's Draft Scenarios for the Purpose and Use of the Voluntary National Tests   89 B   Achievement-Level Descriptions for 4th-Grade Reading and 8th-Grade Mathematics   93

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