TILSA Test Security Guidebook

Preventing, Detecting, and Investigating Test Security Irregularities

Test Security Guidebook

Test security is a critical issue for many states and districts. Cheating and test piracy (stealing of test forms or items) pose major threats to the validity of test score interpretation and the credibility of large scale assessment programs. The soundness of test results requires systematic and productive efforts in all aspects of the design, development, and maintenance of these programs. States may need to make additional efforts to prevent cheating from occurring as well as detecting it if it has occurred. Currently, among the many issues that need to be addressed, some of the more crucial ones are those associated with the implementation of solid security procedures for high stakes assessments, at both the state and local levels. Not the least of these is the need to improve the professional testing practices of teachers.

Early in 2012, in response to recent attention across the country on improving the security of assessment programs, the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Technical Issues in Large-Scale Assessment (TILSA) State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards launched a special project to assist states in proactively addressing potential security problems, including the development of this document, Preventing, Detecting, and Investigating Test Security Irregularities: A Comprehensive Guidebook on Test Security for States, hereafter referred to as the “guidebook.” TILSA state members and experts on the topic collaborated on the contents of this guidebook to ensure the information provided is comprehensive in scope while remaining practical and useful to state assessment staff.

The main purpose of the guidebook is to provide resources that states can use for preventing and detecting irregularities, such as cheating and test piracy on state assessments, and for investigating suspected or confirmed instances of improper/unethical testing behavior by students or educators. The guidebook also provides depth on key technical topics such as data forensics analyses that state staff and others involved in testing will find it helpful in their ongoing work.

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