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Published in Print: November 5, 2003, as Test Preparation

Test Preparation

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Unlike most other states, New York does much of the test-development and test- production work for its high school Regents exams with its own personnel. State and local officials perform tasks such as organizing the field testing, publishing and mailing test booklets, and scoring the exams. Outside testing companies analyze scores and ensure that tests have comparable difficulty.

Test development is ongoing because the state publishes the questions and answers to all Regents exams. Each subject area is tested twice a year. Each exam takes two years to produce, and the state must write 70 tests annually.

Every year, during the summer or other school holidays, more than 1,000 teachers participate in three sets of activities to write, edit, and publish the exams:

1 The state education department assembles a team of teachers to write questions in their particular subject. The best questions are then assembled into a test that is given to students on a trial basis, a process called field testing.

2 After the field tests, a new set of teachers reviews the results and selects the questions that will be put on the exam for that subject.

3 A third set of teachers reviews the test booklet. The group edits questions for clarity, ensures that the booklet provides enough space for students to answer the open-ended questions, and checks the sequence of the questions to ensure they are fair.

SOURCE: New York State Department of Education

Vol. 23, Issue 10, Page 27

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