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A Practitioner's Introduction to Equating

Author(s)Joe Ryan & Frank Brockmann
Publication dateMay 2011
publication pdfA Practitioner's Introduction to Equating

Equating is an essential tool in educational assessment due the critical role it plays inseveral key areas: establishing validity across forms and years; fairness; test security; and,increasingly, continuity in programs that release items or require ongoing development.

Although the practice of equating is rooted in long standing practices that go backmany decades, one of the driving forces behind this handbook has been the notionthat a great deal of information about equating is unfamiliar to or not easily accessedby practitioners. This information appears in scholarly texts, professional journals, andother publications. It derives from the accumulated experiences of people who aretrained and experienced in measurement and have highly technical understandings ofthe issues; however, even when expert consultants advise policymakers on equatingrelatedmatters, communicating the substantive significance of the technical conceptsin a user-friendly manner is a challenge.Thus the primary aim of this handbook is to provide an abbreviated conceptualbackground of key concepts and describe some common equating issues. It alsoattempts to guide readers to taking the first steps toward viable solutions.

This handbook is not an attempt to gather or present a collection of mathematicalequations, charts, graphs, or statistical formulae as part of any technical analysis.In fact, the use of equations to explain concepts has been deliberately minimizedand avoided whenever possible.The handbook's secondary aim is to provide state-level measurementprofessionals with a useful resource for communicating the rationale for equatingdecisions to policymakers and other stakeholders. This handbook can beginto bridge the gaps between various perspectives as they relate to equating bydescribing situations where psychometric and policy matters might interact.As such, it may be a starting point or guide for formulating solutions that arepractical, feasible, and technically sound.