PreK-12 Market Headlines

Measured Progress Offers Free Software To Evaluate Test Item Fairness/Validity

DOVER, N.H., June 6, 2011/via PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Measured Progress has entered into a partnership to provide the assessment research community free access to software tools that can be used to evaluate test item fairness and reliability. The Dover, New Hampshire-based company is working with Professor William Stout from the University of Illinois to post the source code for software developed by Dr. Stout. The software performs two categories of analysis to provide validity evidence for an assessment instrument — differential item functioning (DIF) and dimensionality analysis (DIM).

According to Measured Progress Assistant Vice President Michael Nering, making the tools available as open source will vastly expand the programs' usage. A community of users will be built to share experiences, develop best practices, and enhance and expand the capabilities of the programs. Members of the community will likely include psychometricians and researchers from academia, assessment companies, and government. Dr. Stout and the Measured Progress psychometric team will offer technical support, usage tutorials, and research support services. 

"DIF analyses can be used to ensure that assessment items are fair, particularly for various subgroups; DIM shows how various questions on a test relate to one another and their congruency to what the test purports to measure," Nering said.  "The results from both analyses can serve as a cornerstone to the validity of any assessment program." 

Measured Progress plans on making other analysis tools available that can also be used for purposes of validating an assessment. 

"Our goal," Nering said, "is to continuously post software that can be used to evaluate assessment instruments.  By working closely with somebody like Dr. Stout we believe we can affect the assessment industry in a positive way while providing tools that researchers can use at no cost." 

To learn more about the DIF and DIM software go to http://sourceforge.net/projects/psycho/, or check out the Measured Progress community page at: http://psycho.measuredprogress.org.

Measured Progress is a  not-for-profit organization dedicated to student learning and improving instruction in the standards-based classroom. Since 1983, Measured Progress has successfully partnered with more than half of the states across the nation in support of programs that have affected millions of students. The organization develops state- and district-level assessments and is the nation's leading provider of alternate assessment for students with cognitive disabilities. In addition, Measured Progress offers professional development services and products that assist educators in creating and using assessment to measure student achievement and improve instruction. www.measuredprogress.org

CONTACT: Patricia C. Ross, +1-603-749-9102, ext. 2157, pross@measuredprogress.org