ATP Submits Comments to US Department of Education

The Association of Test Publishers this August submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Education in response to an informal request posted on Homeroom, the official blog of the US Department of Education.The Department was seeking comments, especially from assessment experts, on how it reviews and approves state tests in light of the move to a new generation of tests linked to college- and career-ready standards (including the common core), tests being developed by the two Race-to-the-Top Assessment consortia, as well as individual state tests that are not part of the consortia.

"ATP submitted the comments to suggest ways of improving the peer review process to ensure that each statewide assessment enables valid and reliable inferences to be drawn about student performance so that the assessment system meets the requirements of the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act)," said ATP Education Division Dr. Tim Vansickle of Questar Assessment Inc. 

The Department, in its Homeroom blog, raised several important questions to which the comments directed their response:

• Are there models or best practices in conducting peer reviews that are applicable and practical for
state assessment systems?

• What types of evidence can and should a state provide to demonstrate that its system meets the
elements of a high-quality assessment system?

• What benchmarks or rubrics can the Education Department establish to help evaluate the
evidence submitted by states?

• Are there components of the department's current process that can or should be revised or are
there aspects the department should add?

To read the full comments on how these questions were addressed, download a .pdf of the comments here.