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About CAL

Past Presentations

Mountain Plains Adult Education Association (MPAEA) 2009 Conference

Tuscany Casino
March 1 - 4, 2009 Las Vegas, NV

Visit the MPAEA 2009 Conference Web Site


Monday, March 2, 2009

Setting Standards for an Adult ESL Assessment
In language test development, cut level scores are necessary for score interpretation and can be determined through a standard setting study. The presenter of this session described the best practices, procedures, and results of a standard setting study conducted to determine new cut scores for an established adult ESL literacy assessment.

On July 1, 2006 the Department of Education's revised National Reporting System (NRS) educational functioning level reading and writing descriptors for Adult ESL programs went into effect. Due to this change, the cut scores for a literacy assessment had to be realigned through a standard setting study. The goal of the study was to relate performances on the competency based Adult ESL assessment to the revised NRS descriptors.

Adult ESL experts from around the country served as judges in the study, which used a modified Body of Work approach. Student portfolios were selected representing the complete span of scale scores. Judges made independent decisions about which NRS level descriptors best characterized each portfolio. After sharing and discussing their original decisions, each judge determined an individual final judgment.

Logistic regression was used to calculate the cut scores for NRS levels from the data that the judges provided. The cut score between two levels was the portfolios score at which there was 50% or more probability of the judges viewing that portfolio as belonging to the higher level. The results revealed that the NRS cuts derived from the 2007 standard setting study were generally higher than those that had been previously used.

Defining appropriate performance standards is a vital step in the test development process. Crucial decisions are often made, in part, based on test performance results; therefore assessment cut scores should be based on a formal, valid, replicable, and defensible process. By adhering to well devised processes, the validity of program decisions can be enhanced.

Presenter: Daniel Lieberson
Time: 9:00 - 10:15 am


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Using Adult ESL Assessments - BEST Plus and BEST Literacy
This session demonstrated two of the Center for Applied Linguistics adult ESL assessments. Both assessments allow examinees to demonstrate what they know and can do in English. The assessments are backed by CAL's commitment to use current best practices in test development.

Presenter: Daniel Lieberson
Time: 10:00 - 11:45 am
Room: Grand Ballroom B

Return to CAL's list of past presentations.