Sunday, February 04, 2007

The symphony of CST criticism: Standard mismatch

"Question X doesn't match the standard it's supposed to assess."
This is nearly the only topic of criticism applicable to my service on the Assessment Review Panel. But it requires a knowledge of the state-approved content standards. And there is a level of nuance involved. For example, newly released question number 16 could be judged an inappropriate question for the Physics CST. The question requires a mathematical understanding of Newton's law of universal gravitation. Such knowledge is the subject of Physics Content Standard 1.m. That standard is an untested "opportunity to learn." Since the CST is not supposed to assess students on untested standards, the question could be deemed inappropriate.

When a question from the database of CST items is sent out as a released test question, it can never again be used on an operational form. It has been put out to pasture. If a question made it on to a live test but really wasn't aligned to a given standard as well as we hope for, the pasture is exactly where it should be.

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