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Document Number: 7056

Making the Cut: How States Set Passing Scores on Standardized Tests - States too rarely explain what it actually means for a student to pass a state test, to be "proficient," or how passing scores are established. This gives parents, policymakers and the public only a partial understanding of educational progress and what measures like "adequate yearly progress" really mean. That's because trying to interpret student performance on a test without understanding the passing score is like reading a map without a scale. This 10-page paper describes the methods states use to set passing or "cut" scores on tests, examines influences on states' score-setting work and recommends steps to ensure that the public can better understand this important educational process. (Andrew J. Rotherham, Education Sector, July 2006) ...

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