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How Can Released State Test Items Support Interim Assessment Purposes in an Educational Crisis?

State testing programs regularly release previously administered test items to the public. We provide an open-source recipe for state, district, and school assessment coordinators to combine these items flexibly to produce scores linked to established state score scales. These would enable estimation of student score distributions and achievement levels. We discuss how educators can use resulting scores to estimate achievement distributions at the classroom and school level. We emphasize that any use of such tests should be tertiary, with no stakes for students, educators, and schools, particularly in the context of a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. These tests and their results should also be lower in priority than assessments of physical, mental, and social–emotional health, and lower in priority than classroom and district assessments that may already be in place. We encourage state testing programs to release all the ingredients for this recipe to support low-stakes, aggregate-level assessments. This is particularly urgent during a crisis where scores may be declining and gaps increasing at unknown rates.

achievement levels, COVID-19, interim assessment, item maps, item response theory, psychometrics, state testing
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Klugman, Emma M., and Andrew D. Ho. (). How Can Released State Test Items Support Interim Assessment Purposes in an Educational Crisis?. (EdWorkingPaper: -292). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University:

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