Guidebook to Including Students with Disabilities and English Learners in Assessments

Appendix B
Fairness Standards in the Standards

Cluster 1: Test Design, Development, Administration and Scoring Procedures That Minimize Barriers to Valid Score Interpretations for the Widest Possible Range of Individuals and Relevant Subgroups

3.1. Those responsive for test development, revision, and administration should design all steps of the testing process to promote valid score interpretations for intended score uses for the widest possible range of individuals and relevant sub-groups in the intended population.

3.2. Test developers are responsible for developing tests that measure the intended construct and for minimizing the potential for tests’ being affected by construct-irrelevant characteristics, such as linguistic, communicative, cognitive, cultural, physical, or other characteristics.

3.3. Those responsible for test development should include relevant subgroups in validity, reliability/precision, and other preliminary studies used when constructing the test.

3.4. Test takers should receive comparable treatment during the test administration and scoring process.

3.5. Test developers should specify and document provisions that have been made to test administration and scoring procedures to remove construct-irrelevant barriers for all relevant subgroups in the test-taker population.

Cluster 2: Validity of Test Score Interpretations for Intended Uses for the Intended Examinee Population

3.6. When credible evidence indicates that test scores may differ in meaning for relevant subgroups in the intended examinee population, test developers and/or users are responsible for examining the evidence for validity of score interpretations for intended uses for individuals from those sub-groups. What constitutes a significant difference in subgroup scores and what actions are taken in response to such differences may be defined by applicable laws.

3.7. When criterion-related validity evidence is used as a basis for test score-based predictions of future performance and sample sizes are sufficient, test developers and/or users are responsible for evaluating the possibility of differential prediction for relevant subgroups for which there is prior evidence or theory suggesting differential prediction.

3.8. When tests require the scoring of constructed responses, test developers and/or users should collect and report evidence of the validity of score interpretations for relevant subgroups in the intended population of test takers for the intended uses of the test scores.

Cluster 3: Accommodations to Remove Construct-Irrelevant Barriers and Support Valid Interpretations of Scores for Their Intended Uses

3.9. Test developers and/or test users are responsible for developing and providing test accommodations when appropriate and feasible, to remove construct-irrelevant barriers that otherwise would interfere with examinees’ ability to demonstrate their standing on the target constructs.

3.10. When test accommodations are permitted, test developers and/or test users are responsible for documenting standard provisions for using the accommodation and for monitoring the appropriate implementation of the accommodation.

3.11. When a test is changed to remove barriers to the accessibility of the construct being measured, test developers and/or users are responsible for obtaining and documenting evidence of the validity of score interpretations for intended uses of the changed test, when sample sizes permit.

3.12. When a test is translated and adapted from one language to another, test developers and/or test users are responsible for describing the methods used in establishing the adequacy of the adaptation and documenting empirical or logical evidence for the validity of test score interpretations for intended use.

3.13. A test should be administered in the language that is most relevant and appropriate to the test purpose.

3.14. When testing requires the uses of an interpreter, the interpreter should follow standardized procedures and, to the extent feasible, be sufficiently fluent in the language and content of the test and the examinee’s native language and culture to translate the test and related testing materials and to explain the examinee’s test responses, as necessary.

Cluster 4: Safeguards Against Inappropriate Score Interpretations for Intended Uses

3.15. Test developers and publishers who claim that a test can be used with examinees from specific subgroups are responsible for providing the necessary information to support appropriate test score interpretations for their intended uses for individuals from these subgroups.

3.16. When credible research indicates that test scores for some relevant subgroups are differentially affected by construct-irrelevant characteristics of the test or of the examinees, when legally permissible, test users should use the test only for those subgroups for which there is sufficient evidence of validity to support score interpretations for the intended uses.

3.17. When aggregate scores are publicly reported for relevant subgroups - for example, males and females, individuals of differing socioeconomic status, individuals differing by race/ethnicity, individuals with different sexual orientations, individuals with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, individuals with disabilities, young children or older adults - test users are responsible for providing evidence of comparability and for including cautionary statements whenever credible research or theory indicates that test scores may not have comparable meaning across these subgroups.

3.18. In testing individuals for diagnostic and/or special program placement purposes, test users should not use test scores as the sole indicators to characterize an individual’s functioning, competence, attitudes, and/or predispositions. Instead, multiple sources of information should be used, alternative explanations for test performance should be considered, and the professional judgement of someone familiar with the test should be brought to bear on the decision.

3.19. In settings where the same authority is responsible for both provision of curriculum and high-stakes decisions based on testing of examinees’ curriculum mastery, examinees should not suffer permanent negative consequences if evidence indicates that they have not had the opportunity to learn the test content.

3.20. When a construct can be measured in different ways that are equal in the degree of construct representation and validity (including freedom from construct-irrelevant variance), test users should consider, among other factors, evidence of subgroup differences in mean scores or in percentages of examinees whose scores exceed the cut scores, in deciding which test and/or cut scores to use.