The Validity of Interpretations of the 1992 NAEP Achievement Levels in Mathematics.Report as inadecuate

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This report evaluates the degree to which the achievement level descriptions adopted by the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) for the 1992 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessment in mathematics accurately represent what students at a given achievement level can do. Three different analytical approaches were used in the investigation and resulted in the following conclusions: (1) judged in terms of actual student performance, many of the items selected as exemplars of the achievement levels are misleading; (2) the 1992 NAEP mathematics assessment did not measure some of the attributes included in the descriptions of the achievement levels and measured some other attributes only poorly; (3) frequently, many of the students at a given level did not successfully answer items linked to certain aspects of the descriptions at that level; (4) the definitions of the levels overlap considerably and frequently differ only in subtle nuances; and (5) the characteristics of items that differentiate among achievement levels suggest descriptions of performance that differ substantially from the current achievement level descriptions. It was concluded that the analyses did not support the validity of the published content descriptions as characterizations of what students within specified scoring ranges can do. (JRH)

Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education, Mathematical Concepts, Mathematics Achievement, Mathematics Skills, Test Construction, Test Results

Author: Burstein, Leigh; And Others


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