Four things you should do NOW to protect your testing program

Written by Sally Valenzuela, Vice President, Education Services

April 26, 2017

Now that spring testing is almost over, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.  Weeks of vigilance have paid off with a smooth, incident-free test administration.

Not your district?  You’re not alone.  No matter how much planning, training, and oversight is in place, there are always some testing irregularities.  Many will be straightforward and covered by standard policies and procedures: computer outages, students coming in late, last minute proctor substitutes.

But some incidents may set off your internal alarms.  Did a proctor or on-site monitor report something unusual?  Do test results show school or classroom gains that surprise you?  Did you receive an anonymous tip that you’re not sure how to address?  Answering these questions now may be important to ensure confidence that student scores are valid.

Here are four things you should do now.

  1. Review local testing policies and procedures.  It’s important to update test security and incident response plans after a big test administration.  Do security plans cover everything they should?  Do you have a Security Incident Response Plan?  Are individuals trained to recognize and react to irregularity or incident reports?
  2. Evaluate this year’s testing irregularities How were incidents reported?  Do you need to consider adding a tip line?  Was there a smooth system for managing and escalating incidents? What kind of incidents were gathered?  Do any incidents require further exploration by school staff, district personnel or perhaps an outside investigator?
  3. Review any anomalous score data.  Data forensics or score invalidations may be available from your state department of education.  If not, does anything catch your eye as you look at school and classroom data? Unexpected gains or other anomalies may need further information to determine what is going on.  Depending on the context, districts may consider a targeted data forensics analysis to look at specific instances.
  4. Carry out some investigations. Investigations can provide additional information to help understand what caused testing irregularities.  This information can point to the need for new policies or procedures, places where additional training is needed, or perhaps the implementation of an honor code statement for students.  If you would like more information, Caveon is hosting a free webinar on this topic on May 18. You can register here.

Planning for test security is an ongoing process.  These steps can provide quality assurance now and help you identify areas for improvement for the next administration.

 

Sally Valenzuela

Vice President of Education Services, Caveon Test Security