Performance Assessments for Adult Education

Exploring the Measurement Issues

REPORT OF A WORKSHOP

Committee for the Workshop on Alternatives for Assessing Adult Education and Literacy Programs

Robert J. Mislevy and Kaeli T. Knowles, editors

Board on Testing and Assessment

Center for Education

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, DC



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Performance Assessments for Adult Education Exploring the Measurement Issues REPORT OF A WORKSHOP Committee for the Workshop on Alternatives for Assessing Adult Education and Literacy Programs Robert J. Mislevy and Kaeli T. Knowles, editors Board on Testing and Assessment Center for Education Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, DC

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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. ED-01-CO-0135 between the National Academy of Sciences and the United States Department of Education. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-08453-9 Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Box 285 Washington, DC20055 800/624-6242 202/334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area) <http://www.nap.edu> Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2002). Performance assessments for adult education: Exploring the measurement issues, Report of a workshop. Committee for the Workshop on Alternatives for Assessing Adult Education and Literacy Programs, Robert J. Mislevy and Kaeli T. Knowles, Editors. Board on Testing and Assessment, Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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COMMITTEE FOR THE WORKSHOP ON ALTERNATIVES FOR ASSESSING ADULT EDUCATION AND LITERACY PROGRAMS ROBERT J. MISLEVY (Chair), Department of Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation, University of Maryland, College Park JUDITH A. ALAMPRESE, Prinicipal Associate, Abt Associates, Bethesda, Maryland LYLE F. BACHMAN, Department of Applied Linguistics and TESL, University of California, Los Angeles ROBERT BICKERTON, Adult and Community Learning Services, Massachusetts Department of Education JOHN P. COMINGS, National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, Harvard Graduate School of Education SUSAN K. COWLES, Instructor, Linn-Benton Community College, Oregon NEAL SCHMITT, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University CATHERINE E. SNOW, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University KAELI T. KNOWLES, Study Director JUDITH A. KOENIG, Senior Program Officer ANDREW E. TOMPKINS, Senior Project Assistant

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BOARD ON TESTING AND ASSESSMENT EVA L. BAKER (Chair), The Center for the Study of Evaluation, University of California, Los Angeles LORRAINE McDONNELL (Vice Chair), Departments of Political Science and Education, University of California, Santa Barbara LAURESS L. WISE (Vice Chair), Human Resources Research Organization, Alexandria, Virginia CHRISTOPHER F. EDLEY, JR., Harvard Law School EMERSON J. ELLIOTT, Consultant, Arlington, Virginia MILTON D. HAKEL, Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University ROBERT M. HAUSER, Institute for Research on Poverty, Center for Demography, University of Wisconsin, Madison PAUL W. HOLLAND, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey DANIEL M. KORETZ, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University EDWARD P. LAZEAR, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University RICHARD J. LIGHT, Graduate School of Education and John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University ROBERT J. MISLEVY, Department of Measurement and Statistics, University of Maryland JAMES W. PELLEGRINO, University of Illinois, Chicago LORETTA A. SHEPARD, School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder CATHERINE E. SNOW, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University WILLIAM T. TRENT, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign GUADALUPE M. VALDES, School of Education, Stanford University KENNETH I. WOLPIN, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania PASQUALE J. DeVITO, Director LISA D. ALSTON, Administrative Associate

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Acknowledgments At the request of the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute for Literacy, the National Research Council (NRC) established the Steering Committee for the workshop on Alternatives for Assessing Adult Education and Literacy Programs to examine the development of performance assessments for measuring and reporting learning gains in adult basic education and literacy programs. A great many people contributed to the success of this workshop, which brought together state and local education directors with experts in educational measurement and assessment, and others familiar with the development and implementation of performance assessments. The steering committee would like to thank the speakers and discussants for their contributions in a lively and productive workshop. The full participant list appears in Appendix B. Staff from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), under the leadership of Carol D’Amico, and staff from the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL), under the leadership of Andrew Hartman and Sandra Baxter, were valuable sources of information. Ron Pugsley and Mike Dean of OVAE, and Sondra Stein of NIFL were particularly helpful in providing the committee with valuable background information on numerous occasions. Regie Stites of the Stanford Research Institute also provided useful information on Equipped for the Future. Special thanks are due to a number of individuals at the National Re-

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search Council who provided guidance and assistance at many times during the organization of the workshop and the preparation of this report. We thank Pasquale DeVito, director of the Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA), for his expert guidance and leadership of this project. We are indebted to Judy Koenig for her assistance in planning the workshop and writing this report; she was the principal source of expertise in both the substance and the process for this workshop. We also wish to thank the associate director of the Center for Education, Patricia Morison, for her assistance with this work. We thank Susan Hunt for her editorial assistance on this report. Special thanks go to Andrew Tompkins for his management of the operational aspects of the committee meetings and production of this report. We also appreciate Lisa Alston’s guidance on pertinent administrative issues throughout the project. The committee is particularly grateful to Kaeli Knowles, study director, for her tireless efforts throughout the project, from the time we assembled the steering committee and coordinated its work, to putting together a stimulating workshop, to preparing the manuscript for this report. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Eugene Johnson, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC; Dorry Kenyon, Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC; Kristen M. Kulongoski, Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development; Lennox L. McLendon, National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium, Inc., Washington, DC; and Steve Reder, Department of Applied Linguistics, Portland State University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Milton Goldberg, National Alliance of Business, Washington, DC. Ap-

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pointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Robert J. Mislevy Chair

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Contents 1   Introduction   1 2   Background   7 3   Assessment and Test Design   36 4   Quality Standards for Performance Assessments   50 5   Developing Performance Assessments for the National Reporting System   71 6   Challenges in Adult Education   84 7   Options and Strategies   92     References   103     Appendixes     A   Workshop Agenda   107 B   Workshop Participants   113 C   Adult Education and Family Literacy Act FY 2001 Appropriation for State Grants   118

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