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Externally developed tests

Table 19 shows the number of respondents using various commercially produced tests. The Brigham Young University CAPE (Computer Adaptive Placement Exam) and the Advanced Placement (AP) subject tests were the most common commercially produced tests used by the respondents. Part of this is no doubt due to the availability of these tests for the most commonly taught languages. Widespread use in other programs and the consistency of the results were the most cited reasons for choosing the tests (Table 20), though some programs commented that the decision to use the test was out of their hands (i.e., a decision by the Dean) or that practical considerations, such as the lack of available staff for testing duties during the summer, were also considerations.

Table 19: Externally produced tests used by respondents
Test Programs
AP subject test 38
Wisconsin Test 8
SAT II subject test 2
Michigan Test 1
Japanese Proficiency Test 1
AATG Test* 1
University of Oregon NFLRC STAMP* 1
College Board* 1
sras* 1
*Write-in response

Table 20: Reason for choosing commercial test
Reason Respondents
Widely used in other programs 21
Gives consistent results 18
Have always used it 8
Familiar to teachers 7
No other option 4
Ease of administration* 1
Cost* 1
Convenience* 1
Faculty not available in summer* 1
Dean's decision* 1
*Write-in response

As with the internally developed tests, content review and piloting on current students were the most common ways of validating externally produced tests (Table 21). One program cited a high correlation obtained between a previously used test. Perhaps because of the inherent mismatch between a standardized test and an individual program's curriculum, matching the test content to course objectives was not used to the extent it was for locally produced tests.

Table 21: Validation method for externally developed test
Validation method Responses
Review by instructors/department head 37
Piloting on current students 31
Matching contents to course objectives 7
Item analysis 2
Compared favorably to previous test* 1
*Write-in response

next up previous
Next: Course placement Up: Placement test content Previous: Internally developed tests
Martyn Clark 2004-12-21