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Score Reporting in Teacher Certification Testing: A Review, Design, and Interview/Focus Group Study

The reporting of scores on educational tests is at times misunderstood, misinterpreted, and potentially confusing to examinees and other stakeholders who may need to interpret test scores. In reporting test results to examinees, there is a need for clarity in the message communicated. As pressure rises for students to demonstrate performance at a certain level, the communication of scores to the public needs to be examined. Although public school student testing often is placed in the spotlight, this study examines score reporting in teacher certification, which may not have the same complexities of student test score reporting, but does have the equally critical need to effectively communicate scoring information. The purpose of this study was to create multiple teacher certification examinee score reports based on findings in the literature on educational test score reporting, as well as marketing and design principles, and to conduct interviews and focus groups to gather feedback on the comprehension and preferences in interpreting the designed score reports and results. Different approaches for reporting test scores were used to design the score reporting materials for a hypothetical teacher certification testing examinee who had not passed. Educators and educational testing professionals were convened and interviewed to review the score reports and offer feedback, suggestions and discussion. The findings are covered in great detail. Using the findings, a final model score report was designed, which was then reviewed with doctoral students in educational measurement. Through this process, some clear patterns and differences arose. Overall, there was a desire on the educator and doctoral student end to provide as much information as possible, where supported by sound measurement principles. The reporting of raw performance information, as well as accommodating comprehension styles by providing performance information in contextual, statistical and visual ways were requested. Upon addressing these requests, two areas that may not have full clarity and direction remained: The process of converting raw score performance to a scaled score (participants wanted more information on this process), and information provided that could address candidate weak areas, directing examinees to materials that could improve their studies, understanding, and examination performance.
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