Requirements and Guidance for Testing Program Documentation in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing

Chapter 7 in the 2014 Standards, “Supporting Documentation for Tests,” emphasizes the role of documentation in communicating to test users about interpretations of test scores. The chapter identifies a range of test users and audiences for supporting documentation, including professional area practitioners, consultants, test administrators, researchers, educators and examinees. And it acknowledges that supporting information may appear in a range of sources, including testing program and administration manuals, technical manuals, user guides, test-taker guides and research reports that target the various categories of test users. The chapter includes 14 standards, organized in four clusters, which address the following topics: appropriate uses of tests, test development, test administration and scoring, and timeliness of delivery of test documents. The chapter’s “central intent” is stated in an overarching standard: “Information relating to tests should be clearly documented so that those who use tests can make informed decisions regarding which test to use for a specific purpose, how to administer the chosen test, and how to interpret test scores” (AERA et al., 2014, p. 125). Details, concepts and general themes in the introductory material and in the standards themselves emphasize that the purpose and role of testing program documentation are to support appropriate interpretations and uses of test scores, avoid inappropriate interpretations and uses and negative consequences of use, and summarize supporting evidence. Our views and recommendations in this chapter regarding documentation to support validity arguments are consistent with the central intent, details and concepts in the documentation chapter of the Standards. The standards require that supporting documentation be complete, accurate, current, clear and available to qualified individuals. To be current, documentation must be updated as often as changes to test design, content, administration or scoring procedures are made.

Other chapters in the Standards contain discussion and standards relevant to supporting documentation. For example, the chapter on documentation suggests that test users may have their own documentation requirements and also refers the reader to Chapter 9, “The Rights and Responsibilities of Test Takers.” In addition, the introductory material and virtually all of the standards in Chapter 1 ,

“Validity,” discuss elements necessary for constructing validity arguments and using arguments and evidence to interpret and use test scores appropriately

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