Minimizing Risk Exposures

Recent attention to testing and data integrity by the National Council on Measurement in Education (2012) and by the federal government regarding testing irregularities (GAO, 2013; National Center for Education Statistics, 2013) make clear that CIV threats, including those from test administration practices, have serious educational, fiscal and political consequences. Testing irregularities present in many forms; however, threats to test security are a primary focus. This is the case in the Standards (AERA et al., 2014) and in virtually every resource pertaining to test administration.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office conducted a survey from November 2012 to January 2013 to examine the extent to which state testing administrators in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia indicated the implementation of policies and procedures aimed at preventing test irregularities. All 51 state testing administrators responded to the survey. Of the 32 questions in the “Test Administration” portion of the survey, the four survey items with the lowest endorsements included the following (GAO, 2013, pp. 47-50):

• Requirements that teachers not proctor their own classrooms for statewide tests (6/51 = 12% responded “yes” to this practice).

  • • Identify test administrator to examinee ratio (19/51=37% responded “yes” to this practice).
  • • Identify rooms for test administration and room requirements (28/51=55% responded “yes” to this practice).
  • • Recording of seating chart information (8/51 = 16% responded “yes” to this practice).

To what degree are sources of CIV threatening validity when 88% of the states and the District of Columbia do not prohibit teachers from administering accountability tests to their own students and 84% do not record seat chart information? It should come as no surprise that many of the survey respondents said they felt vulnerable to cheating at some point during the testing process. The vulnerability was not isolated to PBT administrations, as 55% of the survey participants reported CBT administrations (GAO, 2013, p. 26).

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