Term of Award

Summer 2003

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 1

Lucindia H. Chance

Committee Member 2

Cathy S. Jording

Committee Member 3

Cordelia D. Zinskie

Abstract

The research study was conducted with the assistance of state level educators throughout the United States for the purpose of examining test security practices throughout the United States during the 2001-2002 school year. Participants included the director of assessment from each state and the District of Columbia. Data were gathered to verify the presence of laws, regulations, or written procedures governing test security procedures; determine the method of reporting test irregularities; identify the resulting sanctions; and explore future trends in test security across the nation.

Results of the study indicated that states are placing increased emphasis on criterion-referenced tests in their decision-making process and identified them as high-stakes tests. In addition, security procedures were more frequently documented for criterion-referenced tests than for norm-referenced tests.

Many states maintained formally documented policies concerning test security through laws, regulations, and written guidelines. Breaches in test security occurred most frequently with the failure to follow test procedures and the mishandling (receiving and shipping) of test materials. In addition, survey results also suggest an area of concern was lost test booklets. Reports of test irregularities usually originated with the district school administrator. Once an irregularity was confirmed, the sanction most frequently imposed was a formal letter of reprimand; penalties were rarely appealed at the state or federal level.

The future of test security was examined through an open-ended question. Although some respondents indicated a need for increased awareness of test security policies, the majority of the states responding did not anticipate altering existing policies or procedures in the future.

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