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States use many high-stakes assessments to make decisions about individuals. These tests may be criticized by those who believe that their purpose or application is discriminatory. Because litigation is time consuming and costly, it is advantageous for states to plan assessments carefully to maximize legal defensibility. This handbook is designed as an introduction to relevant legal issues in assessment for a variety of policymakers, although it is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. A set of general guidelines generated from legal decisions on assessment and professional standards is presented in chapters devoted to four major areas of concern in statewide assessment: (1) testing to award diplomas; (2) potential bias against historically disadvantaged groups; (3) testing accommodations for disabled persons; and (4) legal issues in performance-assessment. Lists of terms, cases, legal theories, and measurement and educational issues introduce each chapter. Each chapter also contains recommendations for defensible policies and procedures. References, 119 in all, follow each chapter. (SLD)

Descriptors: Court Litigation, Disabilities, Discriminatory Legislation, Educational Assessment, Educational Planning, Educationally Disadvantaged, Elementary Secondary Education, High Stakes Tests, Legal Problems, Legal Responsibility, Performance Based Assessment, Policy Formation, Standards, State Legislation, State Programs, Test Bias, Test Construction, Test Use, Testing Accommodations

North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1900 Spring Road, Suite 300, Oak Brook, IL 60521 ($19.95).

Autor: Phillips, S. E.


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