On the Edge of a Whirlwind

I recently saw a story on the news about a whirlwind that happened somewhere in the Midwest. I was impressed with how it swirled and twisted, defying even the winds that fueled it, seemingly directed at least in part, by its own free will and power.  I watched as this whirlwind struck a large building. Suddenly, it wasn’t as powerful anymore. In fact, it dissipated substantially once its energy was interrupted by the solid, strong resource it had the audacity to confront.

It’s been two years since CCSSO* published The TILSA Test Security Guidebook, Preventing, Detecting, and Investigating Test Security Irregularities. It was a time when standardized testing was going from paper and pencil to computerized, states were aligning with assessment consortiums, and common core was being instigated across the country – definitely a vortex of change for those involved in state assessments. But…what happens next? Is the whirlwind still howling, fueling its own force, and gaining strength?

It would be foolish to think that once all the changes were implemented that things calmed. In fact, exactly the opposite has occurred. Every day, there are stories in the media relating to state assessments, and more often than not, the focus is on a suspected breach, an actual breach or another reason to question the validity of the exam results.  It seems as if the whirlwind is just beginning, rather than slowly coming to a halt.

These are among the reasons CCSSO’s TILSA SCASS** elected to create and publish a sequel to the Guidebook of 2013. States are doing better in the area of test security, but they still need more guidance in the continually-changing landscape of assessment, and the ever-greater threats to the security of their state assessment programs.

The new publication, the TILSA Test Security: Lessons Learned by State Assessment Programs in Preventing, Detecting, and Investigating Test Security Irregularities was co-authored by Caveon’s President of Consulting Services, Dr. John Fremer, and Owner of Olson Educational Measurement & Assessment Services, Dr. John Olson. Its primary purpose is to help states continue to improve their existing test security policies, procedures, and protocol, and to implement enhanced approaches for the security of their state assessment programs. And, it’s based on actual accounts of what’s been encountered and learned in the last 24 months.

The whirlwind is still out there, but we’re getting to know it. And much like the building my whirlwind encountered, we are creating solid resources to lessen the strength it possesses, and the impact it has on our testing programs.

The Lessons Learned publication can be downloaded for free, on the CCSSO web site.

*Council of Chief State School Officers

**Council of  Chief State School Officers, Technical Issues in Large Scale Assessment, State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards

Richelle Gruber

Marketing Manager, Caveon Test Security

Leave a Reply