Testing Code of Ethics (16 NCAC 6D .0306)
In North Carolina, standardized testing is an integral part
of the educational experience of all students. When properly administered
and interpreted, test results provide an independent, uniform
source of reliable and valid information, which enables:
- students to know the extent to which they have mastered expected knowledge and skills and how they compare to others;
- parents to know if their children are acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a highly competitive job market;
- teachers to know if their students have mastered grade-level knowledge and skills in the curriculum and, if not, what weaknesses need to be addressed;
- community leaders and lawmakers to know if students in North Carolina schools are improving their performance over time and how the students compare with students from other states or the nation; and
- citizens to assess the performance of the public schools.
Testing should be conducted in a fair and ethical manner, which
- assuring adequate security of the testing materials before, during, and after testing and during scoring
- assuring student confidentiality
- teaching the tested curriculum and test-preparation skills
- training staff in appropriate testing practices and procedures
- providing an appropriate atmosphere
- developing a local policy for the implementation of fair and ethical testing practices and for resolving questions concerning those practices
- assuring that all students who should be tested are tested
- utilizing tests which are developmentally appropriate
- utilizing tests only for the purposes for which they were designed
Scoring, Analysis and Reporting
- interpreting test results to the appropriate audience
- providing adequate data analyses to guide curriculum implementation and improvement
Because standardized tests provide only one valuable piece
of information, such information should be used in conjunction
with all other available information known about a student to
assist in improving student learning. The administration of tests
required by applicable statutes and the use of student data for
personnel/program decisions shall comply with the Testing Code
of Ethics (16 NCAC 6D .0306) which is printed on the next three
.0306 TESTING CODE OF ETHICS
(a) This Rule shall apply to all public school employees who are involved in the state-testing program.
(b) The superintendent or superintendent's designee shall develop local policies and procedures to ensure maximum test security in coordination with the policies and procedures developed by the test publisher. The principal shall ensure test security within the school building.
(1) The principal shall store test materials in a secure, locked area. The principal shall allow test materials to be distributed immediately prior to the test administration. Before each test administration, the building level test coordinator shall accurately count and distribute test materials. Immediately after each test administration, the building level test coordinator shall collect, count, and return all test materials to the secure, locked storage area.
(2) "Access" to test materials by school personnel means handling the materials but does not include reviewing tests or analyzing test items. The superintendent or superintendent's designee shall designate the personnel who are authorized to have access to test materials.
(3) Persons who have access to secure test materials shall not use those materials for personal gain.
(4) No person may copy, reproduce, or paraphrase in any manner or for any reason the test materials without the express written consent of the test publisher.
(5) The superintendent or superintendent's designee shall instruct personnel who are responsible for the testing program in testing administration procedures. This instruction shall include test administrations that require procedural modifications and shall emphasize the need to follow the directions outlined by the test publisher.
(6) Any person who learns of any breach of security, loss of materials, failure to account for materials, or any other deviation from required security procedures shall immediately report that information to the principal, building level test coordinator, school system test coordinator, and state level test coordinator.
(c) Preparation for testing.
(1) The superintendent shall ensure that school system test coordinators:
(A) secure necessary materials;
(B) plan and implement training for building level test coordinators, test administrators, and proctors;
(C) ensure that each building level test coordinator and test administrator is trained in the implementation of procedural modifications used during test administrations; and
(D) in conjunction with program administrators, ensure that the need for test modifications is documented and that modifications are limited to the specific need.
(2) The principal shall ensure that the building level test coordinators:
(A) maintain test security and accountability of test materials;
(B) identify and train personnel, proctors, and backup personnel for test administrations; and
(C) encourage a positive atmosphere for testing.
(3) Test administrators shall be school personnel who have professional training in education and the state-testing program.
(4) Teachers shall provide instruction that meets or exceeds the standard course of study to meet the needs of the specific students in the class. Teachers may help students improve test-taking skills by:
(A) helping students become familiar with test formats using curricular content;
(B) teaching students test-taking strategies and providing practice sessions;
(C) helping students learn ways of preparing to take tests; and
(D) using resource materials such as test questions from test item banks, testlets and linking documents in instruction and test preparation.
(d) Test administration.
(1) The superintendent or superintendent's designee shall:
(A) assure that each school establishes procedures to ensure that all test administrators comply with test publisher guidelines;
(B) inform the local board of education of any breach of this code of ethics; and
(C) inform building level administrators of their responsibilities.
(2) The principal shall:
(A) assure that school personnel know the content of state and local testing policies;
(B) implement the school system's testing policies and procedures and establish any needed school policies and procedures to assure that all eligible students are tested fairly;
(C) assign trained proctors to test administrations; and
(D) report all testing irregularities to the school system test coordinator.
(3) Test administrators shall:
(A) administer tests according to the directions in the administration manual and any subsequent updates developed by the test publisher;
(B) administer tests to all eligible students;
(C) report all testing irregularities to the school system test coordinator; and
(D) provide a positive test-taking climate.
(4) Proctors shall serve as additional monitors to help the test administrator assure that testing occurs fairly.
(e) Scoring. The school system test coordinator shall:
(1) ensure that each test is scored according to the procedures and guidelines defined for the test by the test publisher;
(2) maintain quality control during the entire scoring process, which consists of handling and editing documents, scanning answer documents, and producing electronic files and reports. Quality control shall address at a minimum accuracy and scoring consistency.
(3) maintain security of tests and data files at all times, including:
(A) protecting the confidentiality of students at all times when publicizing test results; and
(B) maintaining test security of answer keys and item-specific scoring rubrics.
(f) Analysis and reporting. Educators shall use test scores appropriately. This means that the educator recognizes that a test score is only one piece of information and must be interpreted together with other scores and indicators. Test data help educators understand educational patterns and practices. The superintendent shall ensure that school personnel analyze and report test data ethically and within the limitations described in this paragraph.
(1) Educators shall release test scores to students, parents, legal guardians, teachers, and the media with interpretive materials as needed.
(2) Staff development relating to testing must enable personnel to respond knowledgeably to questions related to testing, including the tests, scores, scoring procedures, and other interpretive materials.
(3) Items and associated materials on a secure test shall not be in the public domain. Only items that are within the public domain may be used for item analysis.
(4) Educators shall maintain the confidentiality of individual students. Publicizing test scores that contain the names of individual students is unethical.
(5) Data analysis of test scores for decision-making purposes shall be based upon:
(A) dissagregation of data based upon student demographics and other collected variables;
(B) examination of grading practices in relation to test scores; and
(C) examination of growth trends and goal summary reports for state-mandated tests.
(g) Unethical testing practices include, but are not limited to, the following practices:
(1) encouraging students to be absent the day of testing;
(2) encouraging students not to do their best because of the purposes of the test;
(3) using secure test items or modified secure test items for instruction;
(4) changing student responses at any time;
(5) interpreting, explaining, or paraphrasing the test directions or the test items;
(6) reclassifying students solely for the purposes of avoiding state testing;
(7) not testing all eligible students;
(8) failing to provide needed modifications during testing, if available;
(9) modifying scoring programs including answer keys, equating files, and lookup tables;
(10) modifying student records solely for the purpose of raising test scores;
(11) using a single test score to make individual decisions; and
(12) misleading the public concerning the results and interpretations of test data.
History Note: Authority G.S. 115C-12(9) c.; 115C-81(b)(4); Eff. November 1, 1997.
(h) In the event of a violation of this Rule, the SBE may impose
any one or more of the following sanctions:
(1) withhold ABCs incentive awards from individuals or from all eligible staff in a school;
(2) file a civil action against the person or persons responsible for the violation for copyright infringement or for any other available cause of action;
(3) seek criminal prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the violation; and
(4) suspend or revoke the professional license of the person or persons responsible for the violation.
History Note: Authority G.S. 115C-12(9) c.; 115C-81(b)(4);
Eff. November 1, 1997;
Amended Eff. July 1, 2000.