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Setting Standards for Constructed Response Tests: An Overview

Faggen, Jane
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Constructed-Response Tests, Scoring, Standards


This paper describes four approaches that have been recently followed by measurement specialists at ETS in designing tests to be used in the teacher certification process. These methods are: 1) the Benchmark Method; 2) the Item-Level Pass/Fail Method; 3) the Item-Level Passing Score Method; and 4) the Test-Level Pass/Fail Method. The key features associated with each method are also outlined in a table. These include the materials required to do the study, and the types of data collection and data analyses used. For each method, one or more references are listed that describe actual studies in which the approach was used. It is concluded that the methodology for setting standards for constructed-response tests in a variety of subject matter fields is still evolving. In each situation some compromises must be made between the often competing needs of data availability, technical feasibility, psychometric elegance, and associated costs in terms of time, resources, and materials.

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