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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

May

First Advisor

Ronald K. Hambleton

Abstract

Recent legislation (e.g. NCLB) has highlighted the need to administer more large-scale assessments to more grade levels and on more occasions. The results from these assessments are presented in score reports in various formats to many audiences, including teachers, students, school administrators, and parents. Because these assessments will be used as one of several evaluations of student achievement, the score reports should be designed and developed considering the needs of the recipients to ensure understanding. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate why this study is important and relevant, summarize some of the pertinent literature that pertains to the reporting of students’ assessment results, and complete a project that examined the impact of various features of score reports on the effectiveness of communicating the results to various audiences.

Three separate studies contributed to the overall research by progressively providing information on the use and interpretation of information from score reports by different stakeholders. Study 1 focused on one-on-one interviews with a set of stakeholders to obtain more in-depth information about how persons are able to process the information they receive and are able to answer questions that they have before receiving the reports. It was also used as a pilot study for the other two studies. Study 2 used focus groups to offer feedback on several different types of data display used to convey test results. Focus groups consisting of stakeholders were shown a series of graphs that had been modified to either comply or not comply with several guidelines for data display that had been proposed by several researchers. Study 3 used a survey where sets of graphs were compared, one with original and the other with improved displays, and answers to questions based on the displays was given. A summative score based on dichotomously scored items was used to perform a t-test between the control and experimental group. While no significant difference was found, additional insight was gained into how various stakeholder groups used the information in reports and what they valued. Future studies will take into account the growing use of electronic distribution of assessment results.

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