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Divisions > Accountability, Assessment, and Data Systems > Docs > HSA

The development of the High School Assessments has been systematic and methodical. Throughout, the test developers have been attentive to all stakeholders’ needs and concerns as well as to the information provided by test administration data.  Chapter 2 of the MDHSA technical report documents and explains the procedures of test development for the program, as outlined and summarized below.

Additional analyses available from Planning, Results, and Information Management Division of MSDE but not included in this report are 1) a 1999 Cronbach Alpha Analysis of the Maryland Tests, and 2) a summary of the January and May 2000 Field Tests.

2.1 Prototype Item Packet

Prior to field testing for the High School Assessments, all Maryland school systems received a packet of prototype test items, examples of item formats that were being developed to measure the Core Learning Goals in five courses: English 1, Algebra, Geometry, Biology, and Government. This section of the technical report is a sample packet sent to the school systems, which includes the following:

  • Letter to Superintendents
  • Instructions for Distributing Prototype Booklets and Surveys
  • Overview of the Maryland High School Assessment Prototype Items
  • Prototype Booklets, 2 for each of 5 courses (1 copy double-sided, 1 copy for printing)
  • Prototype Item Survey

2.2 Item Distribution Across Indicators and Test Blueprints

In this document, item distribution and elements of each assessment’s test design are explained. Also included are the current blueprints for each test, which also indicate the percentage of items for the measurement of each Core Learning Goal.

2.3 Sample Pages from mdk12.org Website

This website is in continual development. Public release forms, sample instructional tools, sample test development instruction, scoring directions and explanations, and rubrics are among the many tools to the user of this site.

2.4 Item Writing

In collaboration with the testing vendors, CTB/McGraw-Hill and Educational Testing Service, the MSDE assessment and content specialists have developed item specifications documents and item writing guidelines for quality assurance. Sample guidelines for item development can be found at the mdk12.org website. Item writers, which include Maryland teachers, use prepared materials to guide their writing and assure consistency. Included here are training materials used by the mathematics’ teams for item writing sessions and a sample of the Training Manual used by the Government team. Comparable materials for the other content areas are also available.

2.5 Item Review and Revision

Maryland educators and vendor staff wrote all the assessment items, which then went through a rigorous review. MSDE specialists and vendor content specialists exchanged item sets and made edits prior to Content and Bias & Sensitivity Reviews by Maryland educators representing all state districts and special populations. The documents in this section are representative of the documents used at these reviews. They are as follows:

  • Procedures for Conducting Content and Bias Review
  • Sample review agenda
  • Content Review Guidelines
  • Sensitivity Review Guidelines
  • Content and Sensitivity Review forms
  • Sample information sheet about passage and stimulus review

2.6 Maryland High School Assessment May 2001 Field Test Analysis Specifications 

This report prepared by CTB/McGraw-Hill and dated July 11, 2001, includes the following regarding field test data:

  • Overview and Background Information about 2001 Forms and Delivery
  • Data Processing and Quality Assurance Procedure
  •  Test Analyses
  • Classical Item Analysis
  • DIF Analyses
  • IRT Calibration
  • Scoring Tables
  • Red Team Review
  • Preparation of DAT files



Contact Information

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Maryland State Department of Education

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Baltimore, MD 21201
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