Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

The Rights and Responsibility of Test Takers When Large-Scale Testing Is Used for Classroom Assessment

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

The Rights and Responsibility of Test Takers When Large-Scale Testing Is Used for Classroom Assessment

Article excerpt

Introduction

The rights and responsibility of test takers is a key issue in educational testing and there are specific standards that outline good quality testing practices. One well-known document is the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association [AERA], American Psychological Association [APA], National Council on Measurement in Education [NCME], & Joint Committee on Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing [JCSEPT], 2014), hereafter referred to as the Standards. In the Standards, Standard 8.2 describes the rights of test takers: "Test takers should be provided, in advance, as much information about the test, the testing process, the intended test use, test scoring criteria, testing policy and confidentiality protection as is consistent with obtaining valid responses and making appropriate interpretations of test scores" (p. 134). In other words, test takers should be informed about the test provided it does not affect the validity of interpretations based on test results. The responsibility of test takers is described in the Standards: "The responsibility of test takers is to represent themselves fairly and accurately during the testing process" (p. 133). Examples of irresponsible test taker behaviours include those that result in an erroneously high score, such as cheating, or behaviours that result in an erroneously low score, such as low effort.

Collecting evidence of validity of interpretations based on test scores involves test users clearly stating the intended uses of test results and test score interpretations. When there are multiple uses and interpretations for the same test result, the validity of each test use and test score interpretation must be addressed individually (Kane, 2013). Multiple uses of the same test result occurs, for example, when large-scale tests are used for accountability and also for student class marks. Multiple uses of the same test occur frequently. In most Canadian provinces and some American states, teachers count a portion of the provincial (or state) large-scale assessment toward their students' classroom marks (Klinger, Deluca, & Miller, 2008; Miller, 2013; Simon, van Barneveld, King, & Nadon, 2011). The percentage used toward classroom marks and how it is used varies from province to province, state to state.

When large-scale test results are used for more than one purpose--e.g., as part of an educational accountability program and part of students' class marks--there is potential conflict between the rights and responsibility of test takers for each test use (Koch, 2013). Observing the rights and responsibility of test takers for one use of the test might interfere with, or contradict, the rights and responsibility of test takers for the second use of the test. These conflicts, if unresolved, may negatively affect the validity arguments associated with test uses.

The purpose of this study was to identify the potential conflicts in the rights and responsibility of test takers when a large-scale assessment is used for two purposes--as part of an educational accountability program and as part of students' class marks--and identify potential solutions to the conflicts. We analyzed questionnaire data from Grade 9 teachers and students who participated in a large-scale educational test. Because Grade 9 students are adolescents who vary in their motivation to perform tasks and also who are at an important developmental stage, we used two theoretical frameworks to interpret and discuss our results, expectancy-value theory of motivation and the development of decision-making autonomy in adolescents.

Expectancy-Value Theory of Motivation

For this study, we focused on a theory of motivation that integrates expectancy and value constructs, entitled expectancy-value theory (Atkinson, 1964; Cole, Bergin, & Whittaker, 2008; Eccles & Wigfield, 2002; Pintrich, 2004; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000). …

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