ACT Learning and Professional Services

Technical Assessment Tools and Services for K-12 Education, Higher Education, and Workforce

Assessment Services

Our Approach

We use a research-based approach and a well-defined, customer-centric planning and implementation process to deliver the highest quality solutions. Our services can be provided as part of a comprehensive program, or as single services to support your own assessment initiatives.

Our engagements begin with a needs analysis, which provides you with a summary along with requirements for the following:

  • Content Development and Management
  • Research Analyses
  • Technology Infrastructure
  • Data Management
  • Testing Security
  • Scoring and Reporting

From the needs analysis, we deliver reports detailing the core components of your testing program and focused on your assessment needs in the following areas:

  • Assessment Design
  • Assessment Development
  • Content Management
  • Test Validation

Assessment Design

Is your assessment properly designed?

Beginning with your needs analysis, we’llwork with you to determine key assessment parameters, including: the number of items on each test, item types, score points per item type, the number of testing sessions and breaks, and the estimated amount of testing time required. We’ll also provide guidance and details regarding the use of linking item sets for equating, embedded field-test items on operational test forms, types of scores to be derived, score reporting levels, and the number of score points per reporting level.

What test design is necessary to provide information to support your claims?

During this process, ACT will work with you to develop the test blueprints which provide information about which content standards are considered eligible test content, how items and score points are distributed across the standards and reporting levels,and how content standards are sampled.

How well do your examinees at each performance level demonstrate their achievement of content standards?

In addition to the content framework, which identifies what examinees should know, performance level descriptors describe how well examinees at each performance level should be able to demonstrate their achievement of content standards. Using ACT processes, we will work with you to ensure the total pool of items reflects the full range of content, content difficulty, and cognitive complexity exemplified by the performance level descriptors.

Are your content frameworks and test items properly aligned?

We work with you to ensure that test items are clearly aligned to your content framework and support valid interpretations of test results.

Assessment Development

In developing your assessment, it’s important to begin with the end in mind.

With item writing specifications, that means determining conventions for how items for each content standard and/or sub-skill will be written, including any limits placed on the allowable test content. Item writing specifications may include sample item stems and descriptions of what might be appropriate or inappropriate answer choices.

Are you and your SMEs feeling the need for more and more test items?

We understand this trend, which is driven by the demand for computer-based testing, computer adaptive testing, and on-demand testing. Our Automatic Item Generation (AIG) service combines cognitive theories, psychometric practices, and content expertise with computer-based algorithms to create large numbers of high-quality, content specific test items.

Quality is as important as quantity.

In the item review process, our test designers and editors review each item for established content criteria, content accuracy, standards being measured, sensitivity, and accessibility issues. Our style editors review and edit items for grammar, punctuation, and adherence to the approved style sheet. During test assembly, we use established procedures to ensure that your test forms adhere to your test design, blueprint, and psychometric requirements. In preparing test materials for print and online presentation, our specifications for art and page design help ensure high-quality accessible materials for all examinees.

Content Management

Test and content specifications, test items, rubrics, passages, associated stimuli, and all item statistics. All elements of your assessment system must be managed throughout their lifecycle. 

Whether you have an existing content management system in place and need to address specific needs, or you’re starting from scratch, we can help. Using our proprietary system, all content can be tracked, versioned, searched, and accessed by authorized users in a secure online environment. We can also assist with translation and adaptation. We work with qualified translators to produce translated or transadapted test materials in many languages.

Test Validation

Ensuring that test results are fair, consistent, and provide useful information to administrators and test takers is the essence of test validation.

Each of the following types of studies providea precise view of the user’s performanceand plays a key role in test validation. Our consulting teams will ensure that your testing program includes the most appropriate studies to meet your policy needs.

  • Field Testing Items
  • Standard Setting
  • Alignment Studies
  • Accessibility Testing
  • Think Aloud Interviews/Cog Labs
  • Prediction Studies
  • Growth Modeling

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