The ERIC/AE Test Locator Service. ERIC/AE Digest.


ERIC Identifier: ED385604
Publication Date: 1994-08-00
Author: Doolittle, Peter - And Others
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation Washington DC.

The ERIC/AE Test Locator Service. ERIC/AE Digest.

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation (ERIC/AE), the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the Buros Institute, and Pro-Ed (publishing) have collaborated to produce the most comprehensive test locator services available on the Internet. The Test Locator service is located in a subdirectory of the ERIC/AE gopher site, and contains several searchable testing databases, tips on how to best select and evaluate a test, information on fair testing practices, and connections to library catalogs that may be of assistance to anyone searching for specific test information. The Test Locator Service should prove to be a valuable resource for any researcher looking for proven or experimental criterion measures.

CODE OF FAIR TESTING PRACTICES

The Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education, produced by the Joint Committee on Testing Practices, is designed to provide guidelines for the professional test developer, and test administrator, on their obligations to test takers. The Code is targeted at educational test developers, not employment or certification test developers. The Code presents standards for educational test developers and users in four areas, developing & selecting tests, interpreting scores, fairness, and informing test takers.

For each area a series of guidelines for both test developers and test users is given. For example, test developers should "accurately represent the characteristics, usefulness, and limitations of tests for their intended purposes," while test users should "read independent evaluations of a test and of possible alternative measures...look for evidence required to support the claims of test developers." The Code is not copyrighted and may be obtained by either downloading it from the gopher site or by contacting the National Council on Measurement in Education, 1230 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036.

TEST SELECTION TIPS

"Test Evaluation" is an essay containing key testing standards from Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, established by the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME). The document addresses nine standards that are relevant to the evaluation of testing materials, prior to their adoption for use. These standards include (1) test coverage and use, (2) appropriate samples for test validation and norming, (3) reliability, (4) predictive validity, (5) content validity, (6) construct validity, (7) test administration, (8) test reporting, and (9) test and item bias. For each standard, a brief description is given, followed by a series of questions that should be asked by the evaluator.

ERIC/ETS TEST COLLECTION TEST FILE

The ERIC/ETS Test Collection Test File is a joint project of ERIC and the ETS. The ERIC/ETS Test Collection Test File contains records on over 9,500 tests and research instruments. The ETS Test Collection part of the Library and Reference Services Division prepares the test and instrument descriptions, while ERIC/AE maintains the database and search system software. The records within the Test File describe the tests and instruments, and provide availability information for each. The Test File includes instruments relevant to many domains, from achievement and intelligence, to vocational interests and human sexuality.

For each test or instrument, information is provided on the title, author, publication date, relevant population, subject terms, ERIC Thesaurus terms, and availability. In addition, a short abstract is provided that describes the test or instrument, and relates information on its content and form.

Searching the Test File database is easy. Simply select the ERIC/ETS Test File <?> option, and respond to the "Words to search for" prompt with a search string. The search string may use standard search operators including AND, OR, ( ), and the wildcard *. The search itself follows several basic rules, capitalization is ignored, only single words are indexed (a two word phrase such as "portfolio assessment" is interpreted as the union of two single words "portfolio AND assessment"), words less that 4 characters in length are ignored, common words are ignored (such as it, the, and in), and punctuation is not in the database and should be avoided in the search string.

Once a search string has been entered the Test File will search the title field, author field, descriptor fields, identifier field, and availability field, and will respond with the titles of all hits. Selecting any of the titles in the hit list will then display the test or instrument record. These records may then be downloaded or e-mailed to the user. It should be noted that the tests and instruments themselves are not in the test file (see the availability field for locating the test), that not all the tests and instruments in the Test File are currently in print, and that some of the information in the availability field may have changed (publishers may have moved, or gone out of business).

BUROS TEST REVIEW LOCATOR

The Buros' "Mental Measurements Yearbook" (MMY) and "Tests in Print" (TIP) indexes may be searched using the Buros Test Review Locator <?> option. The Buros Test Review Locator uses the same search engine as the Test File. A search conducted using the Buros Test Review Locator will result in a list of test titles along with the volume and either a page (TIP) or test review number (MMY).

Buros' "Mental Measurements Yearbook" is comprised of an extensive set of test reviews. Each review contains descriptive information, professional reviews, and a list of relevant references. Inclusion in the MMY is dependent upon several criteria, including that a test be commercially available, be written in English, and be new or significantly revised. Buros' "Tests in Print" is a comprehensive bibliography of all known commercial tests (English only). All tests in MMY also appear in, and are referenced in, TIP.

PRO-ED TEST REVIEW LOCATOR

The PRO-ED "Test Critiques" index, volumes I - X, may be searched using the Pro-Ed Test Review Locator <?> option. The Pro-Ed Test Review Locator uses the same search engine as the Test File. A search conducted using the Pro-Ed Test Review Locator will result in a list of test titles. Selecting any of the titles in the hit list will display the "Test Critiques" volume number in which the test appears.

Each entry in PRO-ED's "Test Critiques" offers the reader crucial information on each individual test, such as practical applications and uses, settings in which the test is used, appropriate as well as inappropriate subjects, and guidelines for administration, scoring and interpretation. The critiques cite normative data, validity and reliability information, as well as what other experts have said about the test. A final feature to each review is the actual critique, which summarizes and reviews the instrument.

PUBLISHER LOCATOR

The Publisher Locator <?> contains the last known addresses for over 500 test publishers. This list is courtesy of PRO-ED, and was compiled by PRO-ED in 1990. Since that time several publishers may have gone out of business, while others may have moved. If the publisher information is incorrect, the old data should at least provide a starting point for trying to locate the publisher. If the publisher information is indeed incorrect, and you attain the actual publisher information, please relay this information to ERIC/AE, at ericmae@cua.edu, so that we may update the database.

A SEARCH EXAMPLE

Let's assume that one is interested in tests related to anxiety. If one selects the ERIC/ETS Test Collection Test File <?> search option, and enters "anxiety" in response to "Word to search for," a hit list of 243 titles is displayed. After perusing the list, one decides on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (title #217), and selects it. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) record reveals that the inventory was published in 1970, is appropriate for ages 14-64 and grades 9-16, was written by Charles D. Spielberger, is composed of 40 items and takes approximately 20 minutes, and is available through Consulting Psychologists Press. In addition, according to the abstract, the STAI is "designed to measure anxiety proneness (trait) and current level of tension and apprehension (state). Scales are self administered. May be used with emotionally disturbed individuals as well as the general population."

The publication date of 1970 may raise one's doubts as to the usefulness of the STAI in the 1990's. Thus, in order to feel confident of one's decision to use the STAI, an examination of prior reviews or critiques would be helpful. If one selects the Buros Test Review Locator, and enters "anxiety" as the search string, a list of 18 tests is displayed. Test #15 is the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Selecting this test reveals that the STAI is reviewed in MMY, volume 9, review #1186. Not quite satisfied yet, one uses the Pro-Ed Test Review Locator, and again enters "anxiety" as the search string. A list of 13 tests related to anxiety is displayed, of which the STAI is #11. Selecting this title reveals that the STAI was critiqued in volume I of "Test Critiques."

HOW DO I ACCESS THE ERIC/AE GOPHER SITE?

The ERIC/AE gopher site and the ERIC/ETS Test Locator may be accessed by gopher to GOPHER.CUA.EDU under Special Resources/ ERIC Clearinghouse/Test Locator/, or by telnet to ericir.syr.edu (password is gopher) under ERIC Clearinghouses/Assessment and Evaluation/Test Locator/. For more complete instructions on accessing the ERIC/AE gopher send e-mail a request to ericmae@cua.edu.

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