How Are Assessments Developed?
The competencies measured in the ETS® NOTE™ program are among those defined in the current research as key to effective teaching practice. As a first step in the development of the NOTE program, two surveys were conducted with representative groups of teachers and teacher educators to determine the relative importance of a wide array of content and practices proposed for measurement on the assessment. The results of these surveys guided the development of the assessment, forming the basis for the assessment specifications, which define both the English language arts and mathematics content to be covered and the teaching practices in which that content is situated.
Assessment development specialists and practicing teachers develop the assessment tasks that measure both content and practice. Once developed, the tasks undergo a number of reviews conducted by content experts both within and external to ETS to confirm that they map to the test specifications. At every step in the assessment development process, ETS follows well-established industry procedures and standards that are designed to ensure that the assessment measures what it is intended to measure. This iterative process creates clear links between the skills and knowledge being measured and the content of the assessment.
What Steps Does ETS Take to Design Assessments that Are Valid and Fair?
ETS uses a validation process that is consistent with the technical guidelines in the Standards for Educational and Psychology Testing (AERA, 2013). Central to this process for licensure and certification testing is the connection between the content of an assessment and the knowledge and skills judged important for entry-level practice.
Committees of educators along with ETS's subject experts conduct reviews for the appropriateness and fairness of assessment content. The process ends with passing-score or standard-setting studies conducted by each state or licensing agency, during which the job relatedness of the assessment content for that state's entry-level teachers is evaluated.