skip to main content skip to footer

Test-Based Accountability Systems: The Importance of Paying Attention to Consequences IUA NCLB ESSA SAT ACT

Lane, Suzanne
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report, 17th William H. Angoff Memorial Lecture Series
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Test Validity, Test-Based Accountability, Accountability, Consequences, Test Fairness, Validity Argument, Education Reform, Interpretation/Use argument (IUA), Value Judgment, State Assessments, Educational Legislation, No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), Race to the Top Fund, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), College Admissions Assessments, SAT, ACT


The impetus for test-based accountability systems is to improve the educational opportunities afforded to all students so as to improve their learning; therefore, integral to the validity argument of these systems is the appraisal of test-based inferences and decisions in terms of their consequences. Both positive and negative consequences of test-based decisions have different effects on different groups of students and in different schools, and these differential effects need to be examined as part of the validity argument and in addressing fairness issues. This paper addresses intended and potentially unintended consequences of test-based accountability systems in the validity argument. Legislation for test-based accountability systems, as well as studies evaluating their consequences, is discussed. A conceptual framework that provides a principled approach for evaluating both intended and unintended consequences of assessment and accountability systems, including those that arise due to using tests as policy levers for educational change, is provided.

Read More