ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION
Guidance on Standards, Assessments, and Accountability
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Example: Sampling for State Assessment

A State assesses students in five content areas--reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies--using open-ended integrated performance tasks. At each grade level assessed, four test forms are used. Each of three of the test forms covers a portion of the content standards in each of the five content areas, so that across the three forms, all content standards are covered. The fourth test form is used to link scores from the other three forms and contains tasks from the three forms as well as tasks used in prior years.

All students in the tested grade level are assessed using one of the four forms. Forms are randomly distributed within a school so that approximately equal numbers of students take each form. Since the tasks require some group activities, students are grouped for test administration based on the form they are taking.

Individual student scores are reported for each content area (reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies) as a whole, with no further breakdown of scores. Student scores are accompanied by a discussion of cautions in use and interpretation. Users are instructed to use State assessment scores as one piece of information about student performance in the content area, and to supplement such scores with additional performance information (such as local assessments, classroom performance, etc.) before making student-level decisions.

School-, district-, and state-level aggregate scores are reported for each content area, as the proportion of students meeting each of the State’s four performance standards: novice, partially proficient, proficient, and advanced. This information is used to determine school and district progress in educating students to meet the State’s content standards. Scores are also reported for each content standard within a content area. Schools and districts use this information for instructional improvement.

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Last Modified: 10/10/2003