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On Inferential Issues Arising in the California Learning Assessment System

Mislevy, Robert J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
Report of the ETS Center for Performance Assessment
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Educational Assessment, Assessment Methodologies, Circular-Embedded Assessment, On-Demand Multiple-Choice, On-Demand Performance Tasks, Organic Portfolios, Cognitive Psychology, Student Competence


In 1991, the California Learning Assessment System (CLAS) contemplated a statewide assessment system consisting of three distinct ways of obtaining data: "on-demand" (OD) multiple-choice and performance tasks, "curricular-embedded assessment" (CEA), and "organic portfolios" (OP). This paper discusses issues of assessment design, inference, and reporting that this proposal raises. It first addresses the notions of evidence and inference in educational assessment in light of recent developments in cognitive and educational psychology, then discusses the matchups of the aspects of student competence and the types of information afforded by the three assessment methodologies.

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