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Professional Testing, Inc.
Providing High Quality Examination Programs

Test Topics


Scale score - This refers to a type of converted score that may be used by an exam program. Scale scores may be established for an exam program so that all of the test forms can be converted and then reported on the same scale. Over time, the scale score values of the scale score acquire meaning as stakeholders become familiar with the level of performance reflected in specific numeric values. A scale score, like a percentile rank score, has a norm-referenced type of interpretation.

Score distribution - This refers to the tabular or graphical display of a set of examinees' scores, in which the number of times each score occurred in the data set is represented.

Score report - The score report for an individual examinee provides information about that examinee's performance on the test. Depending upon the goals of the exam program, the score report might only provide an overall classification decision. Alternatively, it might include either more detailed information about the examinee's performance on test subsections, and/or additional types of information. Specific types of scores that might be provided include pass/fail classifications, diagnostic information, percentile ranks, and scale scores.

Standard setting - This refers to the process used in an exam program to determine the passing score for a test. Methods for conducting standard setting include informed judgment, conjectural, and contrasting groups methods.

Standards of practice - A published set of behavioral and professional expectations of certificate holders. Standards of practice are frequently developed with input from industry. They are updated periodically for relevance and currency.

Standardized test - This refers to an exam program in which specific procedures have been developed for many aspects of the development and administration. These procedures are intended to be consistently followed, so that test scores may be as comparable as possible. Both criterion-referenced tests and norm-referenced tests can be standardized.

Stem - In a multiple choice item, the stem is the initial question or statement that poses a problem to which the examinee must provide a response. In addition to the text statement, in some cases the stem may include a figure, chart, graphic, or other exhibit.

Subject matter expert - The term subject matter expert, or SME, is used to refer to personnel who are used at different phases of the test development process because of their extensive knowledge of the content and competencies being assessed by the exam. SMEs are used in test development activities such as item writing, item review, and standard setting.