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Standard-Setting Studies for the ETS® NOTE Program

A standard-setting study produces a passing-score recommendation. A passing score is the minimum test score that a candidate needs in order to pass a licensure test as one part of the licensure process. Each state has a specific set of requirements that must be fulfilled in order for a candidate to be awarded a license to teach. Additionally, each state sets its own passing score on the licensure test requirement. ETS does not set passing scores; that is the licensing agencies' responsibility.

The results of a standard-setting study serve two purposes.

  • It provides an operational score that represents the level of knowledge for a candidate to be considered minimally qualified for independent, beginning practice. The level of knowledge is defined by state-nominated experts who understand the test-taking population and the knowledge and skills required for beginning practice.
  • It is designed to provide validity evidence supporting inferences that can be made from the passing score.

Standard setting is a judgment-based process and, as such, the selection of the expert judges (practitioners) who serve on the panel play an important part in the study design. Additionally, the methodology chosen as part of the overall standard-setting design is based on the structure and purpose of the assessment.

Standard-Setting Study Types

When a state chooses to adopt an assessment, the state either conducts a state-specific standard-setting study or participates in a multistate standard-setting study.

State-Specific Standard-Setting Studies

The state-specific study is conducted when the assessment is used only in that particular state, or when a state is considering adopting an existing assessment and there are no other states considering adopting the assessment at that time. State-specific and multistate studies include a similar process involving panels of licensed practicing educators and college faculty from user states to participate on the standard-setting panels. A state-specific study may include a single round of judgments or multiple rounds, as in the multistate study designs. Both studies result in a technical report that describes the selection and representativeness of the participants involved and also summarizes the standard-setting methods and results.

Multistate Standard-Setting Studies

The ETS Multistate Standard-Setting Study process assists states when adopting new passing scores. This approach, designed by ETS researchers, convenes one or more practitioner panels that recommend a passing score for states to consider. Each panel of the multistate studies is facilitated by an ETS standard-setting specialist. This specialist understands the purpose of the study and its design and ensures that the panelists are able to fully participate in every aspect of the study.

For More Information

For questions or further information, please contact your Client Relations Director at NOTEClientRelations@ets.org.