A System of Performance Standards: Policy Reviews as an Additional Layer of Validity

This paper, presented at the annual meeting of the National Council on Measurement in Education in Washington, DC, describes the increased departure from performance standards and cut scores that simply reflect the knowledge and skills acquired by students in a given domain. That is, policy and law is stretching the interpretation of cut scores, especially in the aggregate, far beyond claims regarding student learning (e.g., to make claims of educator effectiveness, to make decisions about student promotion/graduation, etc.). By establishing a comprehensive plan that includes procedural aspects aimed to directly incorporate consequential considerations, practitioners and policymakers may be better equipped to apply recommendations and establish clear communication points with diminished risk of deteriorating the assessment system.