Responsible Practices Within the Assessment Process
(from CDE)

What Are Some of the Appropriate and Inappropriate Practices in the Administration of the CSAP and Interpretation of CSAP Results?

The following information is provided to illustrate professionally responsible and ethical practices in educational assessment for use by all individuals engaged in the administration, interpretation, and use of CSAP, and in the reporting of results from these assessments. These individuals include, but are not limited to: classroom teachers, principals, school psychologists, superintendents, district staff, Colorado Department of Education staff, and educational research and policy professionals. This information is adapted from the general principles of test use as set forth in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing by the American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Psychological Association (APA), the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) (1985) and the Code of Professional Responsibilities in Educational Measurement by the National Council on Measurement in Education (1995).

The principles are intended to provide guidance for determining whether or not a practice related to the administration or use of CSAP results supports the integrity of the assessment process and the reliability and validity of inferences made from those assessments.

Part I of this discussion provides the general principles of responsible assessment practice. The guidelines are the professional standards to which all those involved in the assessment process should refer in determining what practices are appropriate and what practices are unprofessional, unethical and/or inappropriate.

Part II of this discussion of responsible assessment practices focuses on concrete examples of ethical and unethical practices in the administration of CSAP.

Part III provides examples of appropriate and inappropriate uses and interpretation of CSAP results.

 

I. General Principles of Professionally Responsible Practice

In monitoring practices related to administering the CSAP and interpreting or using its results, each district shall use, but not be limited to, the following standards for determining what practices are appropriate and what practices are unprofessional, unethical, and/or inappropriate:

Note: Due to the complex nature of a standardized assessment process, any practice not specifically permitted should be presumed inappropriate until and unless specifically authorized by the program sponsor (in this case, CDE).

CSAP Administrators Shall:

Those Who Interpret, Use, and Communicate CSAP Results Shall:

Maintain security of the CSAP assessment materials before, during, and after the assessment.

Avoid making (and actively discourage others from making) inaccurate reports, unsubstantiated claims, inappropriate interpretations, or other false or misleading statements that can lead to false or misleading conclusions about assessment results.

Thoroughly review the CSAP Administration Manual prior to testing and understand the procedures needed to administer the assessment.

Avoid any practice that provides an interpretation or suggests uses of assessment results without due consideration of the purpose(s) of the assessment, limitations of the assessment, examinee characteristics, any irregularities in administering the assessment, or other factors affecting the results.

Avoid any conditions in the preparation and administration of the assessment that might invalidate the results.

Communicate assessment results in an understandable manner, including proper interpretations and likely misinterpretations.

Ensure that any eligible student is not excluded from the CSAP.

Avoid any practice that supports or leads others to interpret or use assessment results in unethical or inappropriate ways.

Provide and document all allowable accommodations for administration of the assessment to anyone eligible.

Avoid any practice that permits employees or volunteers without the necessary knowledge and skills to interpret results of the assessment.

Provide reasonable opportunities for examinees to ask questions about assessment procedures or directions prior to and at prescribed times during the administration of the assessment.

Report any apparent misuses of assessment information to those responsible for the assessment process in the school, district and state.

Protect the rights to privacy and due process of all examinees.

Avoid any practice that places at risk/violates confidentiality of individually identifiable information.

Avoid actions or conditions that would permit or encourage individuals or groups to receive scores that misrepresent their actual levels of achievement.

Use multiple sources and types of relevant information about persons or programs whenever possible in making educational decisions.

 

II. Practices in Preparation and Administration of CSAP

Examples of ethical and unethical practices are provided below to illustrate the standards and principles of professionally responsible practices in the administration of the CSAP. An unethical assessment practice is anything that would knowingly and deliberately harm a child or will not support or enhance student learning, such as teaching the specific content from an assessment instrument. Teaching a specific test does not enhance student learning, whereas, developing a curriculum based on the Colorado Model Content Standards is appropriate. These Standards provide the skills and knowledge that will be tested.

Ethical Behavior/Practice in Preparation and Administration of CSAP

Preparing students for the assessment of their achievement of standards by aligning curriculum and instruction to district content standards.

Making changes in instruction that enhance student skills, learning and achievement.

Using CSAP released items for professional development purposes and as examples in the classroom.

Using CSAP released items for instructional planning purposes.

Using CSAP released items to familiarize students with the different formats of items on the assessment and how to indicate responses.

Sharing an actual CSAP test instrument with a child’s parents who request, in writing, to see the actual assessment that was administered. NOTE: This is allowed only under controlled conditions in the District Assessment Coordinator’s office with the DAC present after the student has taken the assessment. Under no circumstances may the parent be alone with the test, remove the test from the room or reproduce it in any way. Parents are not allowed to see the test before it is administered. A parent may view the test only after the student has taken the test. If the parent does not want the student’s test scored, the DAC can fill in the "Parent Refusal" bubble and return the completed test booklet to CTB along with all other completed test booklets.

Increasing student motivation to do their best on the assessment through appeals to students, parents and teachers.

Familiarizing students with test-taking strategies.

Setting a testing schedule that provides students with the maximum amount of time that is allowed on the assessment.

Setting a testing schedule that provides make-up days for students who were absent for a session of the assessment.

Reporting any violations, if they occur, of the prescribed CSAP administration conditions to appropriate persons in the school, district and state offices.

 

Unethical Behavior/Practice in Preparation and Administration of CSAP

Developing curriculum based on the specific items of CSAP.

Preparing instructional objectives based on specific CSAP items and teaching accordingly, rather than developing instructional objectives based on the content standards.

Sharing an actual CSAP test instrument in a public forum which is a violation of test security and could invalidate student results.

Copying reading passages, constructed response items, writing prompts, and/or student responses from an actual CSAP assessment for use in instructional planning, classroom instruction or assessment.

Making a copy of the CSAP and/or preparing a student study guide based on the items on a particular assessment.

Copying the vocabulary words from CSAP test items, reading passages, or writing prompts (as opposed to words from the test "Directions"), and using them as the basis for, or, incorporating them into language arts instruction.

Presenting items verbatim or paraphrased from the assessment to be given.

Knowingly deviating from the prescribed administration procedures specified in the CSAP Administration Manual in order to assist student performance.

Leaving visible "word walls", vocabulary posters, spelling words, multiplication tables, or any other aids that could artificially inflate student scores or that are expressly forbidden in CSAP administration manuals.

Allowing students to use dictionaries, thesauri or word processors with spell and grammar check on the reading and writing assessments.

Scribing the essence of the student’s response, rather than scribing exact student responses, including grammatical errors and incorrect responses, when scribing is the accommodation.

Telling students the correct responses or allowing them to discuss answers among themselves.

Hinting to a student to reconsider an answer to any items he/she has given.

Allowing the use of notes or other materials which give students an opportunity to engage in practices which may give them an unfair advantage.

Changing responses that students have written or bubbled in.

Excluding eligible, but lower-performing, students from the CSAP

  1. • Encouraging lower-performing, special education, or limited English proficient students to stay home during the testing period to artificially boost apparent school performance
  2. • Sending on field trips or dismissing lower-performing, special education, or limited English proficient students during the testing period to artificially inflate apparent school performance
  3. • Encouraging students who are not reading at grade level to stay home during the reading portion of the CSAP
  4. • Encouraging parents to opt out of CSAP testing to prevent frustration for low performing students.

Not providing students with allowable accommodations on the assessment that are normally used during instruction.

 

III. Practices in the Use and Interpretation of CSAP Results

Examples of ethical and unethical assessment practices are provided below to illustrate the standards and principles of professionally responsible practices in the use and interpretation of the results from the CSAP:

Ethical Behavior/Practice in the Use and Interpretation of CSAP Results

Using CSAP results as part of a body of evidence in making educational decisions about individuals or programs.

Helping identify strengths and gaps in the curriculum so that future instruction can be improved.

Providing teachers and counselors with the information they need to interpret CSAP results.

Communicating the assessment results to appropriate audiences in an honest, clear and understandable manner, including correct interpretation of results and explanation of any common misinterpretations.

Unethical Behavior/Practice in the Use and Interpretation of CSAP Results

Basing student retention or promotion decisions on CSAP results alone.

Basing decisions regarding Individual Literacy Plans on CSAP results alone.

Evaluating teachers, schools or districts based on CSAP results alone.

Knowingly using CSAP results to provide a misleading picture of the district’s/school’s educational programs, instruction, or student population.

Not reporting the assessment results for all students, including those not tested.

Not reporting any apparent misuses of CSAP results to those responsible for the assessment process in the school, district and state.

Deliberately hiding information, or providing false and misleading interpretations that imply a falsely positive (or negative) and misleading picture of any individual, school or district.

Revealing the test scores of one student to another student or to others not directly involved with the education of that student.

Using CSAP results in a manner or for a purpose for which it was not designed.

Test Security Procedures for CSAP Materials

The purpose of this procedure is to describe what constitutes unethical practices related to the security of test booklets before, during and after CSAP test administration. Currently, CTB ships test booklets to each Colorado school district about three weeks prior to the start of the test window. These booklets remain in districts and schools up to one week after the test window ends. This results in these booklets being in the districts or schools for approximately 7-8 weeks (except for grade 3 tests, which are returned earlier).

 

No one should violate the security procedures for CSAP assessments. It is unethical to do so, therefore:

Do Not

Give examinees access to test questions prior to testing.

Copy, reproduce or use in any manner inconsistent with test security regulations all or any portion of any secure test booklet, for any reason.

Share an actual CSAP test instrument in a public forum.

Coach examinees before, during or after testing or influence, alter or interfere with examinees’ responses in any way.

Deviate from the prescribed administration procedures specified in the CSAP Administration Manual in order to boost student performance.

Allow students to use dictionaries, thesauri or word processors with spell and grammar check on the reading and writing assessments.

Make answer keys available to examinees.

Participate in, direct, aid, counsel, assist, encourage, or fail to report any of the acts prohibited in this section.

Score student responses on CSAP before returning the tests to CTB. After testing is completed, test booklets are to be returned to the district, packaged and kept secure until they are picked up.

Do

Account for all test booklets and keep them in a secure location.

Scribe exact student responses, including grammatical errors and incorrect responses when scribing is the accommodation.

Transcribe exact student responses, including grammatical errors and incorrect responses when a student’s test booklet as been damaged or an alternate format has been used, such as Braille.

Turn in a test book for each student including those excluded from the assessment.

Follow security regulations for distribution and return of secure test materials as directed, accounting for all secure test materials before, during and after testing.

May write start and stop times on the board at the time of testing. It is recommended that if a teacher provides a ’10 minute warning’ to students, he/she also reminds the students to answer every question at the same time.

Report any missing test booklets or irregularities to the School Assessment Coordinator.

Return all used and unused (including damaged and alternate form) test booklets to CTB/McGraw-Hill.