The way to first-class consulting for your credentialing programs
What we believe
Code of Fair Testing Practice
The Caviart Group is committed to ensuring that every project with which we are associated meets the standards and principals defined in The Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education (the Code) prepared by the Joint Committee on Testing Practices. While this code was prepared to address educational tests, we believe that all tests and test takers benefit from the application of these standards.
The Code addresses the role of test developers and test users separately. Test users are people who select tests, commission test development services, or make decisions on the basis of the test scores. Test developers are people who actually construct tests as well as those who set policies for particular testing programs.
The Code presents standards for educational test developers and users in four areas:
- A. Developing/Selecting Tests
- B. Interpreting Scores
- C. Striving for Fairness
- D. Informing Test Takers
Organizations, institutions, and individual professionals who endorse the Code commit themselves to safeguarding the rights of test takers by following the principles listed. The Code is intended to be consistent with the relevant parts of the Standards for Educational and Physiological Testing (AERA, APA, NCME, 1985). However, the Code differs from the Standards in that the Code is meant to be understood by the general public. The Code is not meant to add new principles over and above those in the Standards or to change the meaning of the Standards. The goal is rather to represent the spirit of a selected portion of the Standards in a way that is meaningful to test takers.
The Code has been developed by the Joint Committee on Testing Practices, a cooperative effort of several professional organizations that has as its aim the advancement, in the public interest, of the quality of testing practices. The Joint Committee was initiated by the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education. In addition to these three groups, The American Association for Counseling and Development/Association for Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association are now also sponsor of the Joint Committee.
A. DEVELOPING/SELECTING APPROPRIATE TESTS
Test Developers Should:
- 1. Define what each test measures and what the test should be used for. Describe the population(s) for which the test is appropriate.
- 2. Accurately represent the characteristics, usefulness, and limitations of tests for their intended purposes.
- 3. Explain relevant measurement concepts as necessary for clarity at the level of detail that is appropriate for the intended audience(s)
- 4. Describe the process of test development. Explain how the content and skills to be tested were selected.
- 5.Provide evidence that the test meets its intended purpose(s)
- 6. Provide either representative samples or complete copies of test questions, directions, answer sheets, manuals, and score reports to qualified users.
- 7. Indicate the nature of the evidence obtained concerning the appropriateness of each test for groups of different racial, ethnic, or linguistic background who are likely to be tested.
- 8. Identify and publish any specialized skills needed to administer each test and to interpret scores correctly.
Test Users Should:
- 1. First define the purpose for testing and the population to be tested. Then, select a test for that purpose and that population based on thorough review of the available information.
- 2. Investigate potentially useful sources of information, in addition to test scores, to corroborate the information provided by tests.
- 3. Read the materials provided by test developers and avoid using tests for which unclear or incomplete information is provided.
- 4. Become familiar with how and when the test was developed and tried out.
- 5. Read independent evaluations of a test and of possible alternatives measures. Look for evidence required to support the claims of test developers.
- 6. Examine specimen sets, disclosed tests or sample of questions, directions, answer sheets, manuals, and score reports before selecting a test.
- 7. Ascertain whether the test content and norms group(s) or comparison group(s) are appropriate for the intended test takers.
- 8. Select and use only those tests for which the skills needed to administer the test and interpret scores correctly are available.
B. INTERPRETING SCORES
Test Developers Should:
- 9. Provide timely and easily understood score reports that describe test performance clearly and accurately. Also explain the meaning and limitations of reported scores.
- 10. Describe the population(s) represented by any norms or comparison group(s), the dates the data were gathered, and the process used to select the samples of test takers.
- 11. Warn users to avoid specific, reasonably anticipated misuses of test scores.
- 12. Provide information that will help users follow reasonable procedures for setting passing scores when it is appropriate to use such scores with the test.
- 13. Provide information that will help users gather evidence to show that the test is meeting its intended purpose(s).
Test Users Should:
- 9. Obtain information about the scale used for reporting scores, the characteristics of any norms or comparison group(s), and the limitations of the scores.
- 10. Interpret scores taking into account any major differences between the norms or comparisons groups and the actual test takers. Also take into account any differences in test administration practices or familiarity with the specific questions in the test.
- 11. Avoid using tests for purposes not specifically recommended by the test developer unless evidence is obtained to support the intended use.
- 12. Explain how passing scores were set and gather evidence to support the appropriateness of the scores.
- 13. Obtain evidence to help show that the test is meeting its intended purpose(s).
C. STRIVING FOR FAIRNESS
Test Developers Should:
- 14. Review and revise test questions and related materials to avoid potentially insensitive content or language.
- 15. Investigate the performance of test takers of different races, gender, and ethnic backgrounds when samples of sufficient size are available. Enact procedures that help to ensure that differences in performance are related primarily to the skills under assessment rather than to irrelevant factors.
- 16. When feasible, make appropriately modified forms of tests or administration procedures available for test takers with handicapping conditions. Warn test users of potential problems in using standard norms with modified tests or administration procedures that result in non-comparable scores.
Test Users Should:
- 14. Evaluate the procedures used by test developers to avoid potentially insensitive content language.
- 15. Review the performance of test takers of different races, gender, and ethnic backgrounds when samples of sufficient size are available, Evaluate the extent to which performance differences may have been caused by inappropriate characteristics of the test.
- 16. When necessary and feasible, use appropriately modified forms of tests or administration procedures for test takes with handicapping conditions. Interpret standard norms with care in the light of modifications that were made.
D. INFORMING TEST TAKERS
Test Developers or Test Users Should:
- 17. When a test is optional, provide test takers or their parents/guardians with information to help them judge whether the test should be taken, of if an available alternative to the test should be use.
- 18. Provide test takers the information they need to be familiar with the coverage of the test, the types of questions formats, the directions, and appropriate test-taking strategies. Strive to make such information equally available to all test takers.
- 19. Provide test takers or their parents/guardians with information about rights test takers may have to obtain copies of tests and completed answer sheets, retake tests, have tests rescored, or cancel scores.
- 20. Tell test takers or their parents/guardians how long scores will be kept on the file and indicate to whom and under what circumstances test scores will or will not be released.
- 21. Describe the procedures that test takers or their parents/guardians may use to register complaints and have problems resolved.