index. Such indices enable states and districts to serve one purpose of test reporting: to classify schools in order to make judgments about their overall performance. However, the complex formulas states and districts use to calculate such indices make it difficult to achieve a second important purpose of reporting: to send cues about instructional improvement. Teachers and principals may have difficulty using the index to relate scores to performance or to classroom practices.


  • Assessment results should be reported so that they indicate the status of student performance against standards.
  • Performance levels of proficient or above should represent reasonable estimates of what students in a good instructional program can attain.
  • Reports of student performance should include measures of statistical uncertainty, such as a confidence interval or the probability of misclassification.
  • Reports of progress toward standards should include multiple indicators. When states and districts combine multiple indicators into a single index, they should report simultaneously the components of the index and the method used to compute it.

Questions to Ask


    Are assessment results reported according to standards?


    Is there a way to determine whether the proficient level of achievement represents a reasonable estimate of what students in a good program can attain, over time, with effort?


    Do reports indicate the confidence interval or probability of misclassification?


    Are multiple indicators used for reporting progress toward standards? When these indicators are combined into a single index, are the components of the index and the method used to compute it simultaneously reported?


Relation to Standards. Assessment results provide the most useful information when they report student performance against standards. To the extent possible, reports indicating performance against particular standards or clusters of standards provide instructionally useful information.

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