CETE Process for Establishing Performance Standards

Questions occasionally arise about how the Center on Education and Training for Employment CETE Psychometric staff obtains the performance standards used to classify student test scores into three levels. This brief explains the process, and additional information can be requested from Support@WebXam.org at any time.

General Overview

What? CETE uses three levels to describe performance: Nonproficient, Proficient, and Advanced. Both proficient and advanced levels refer to passing performance, while Nonproficient represents failing performance.
Why? Performance standards are required to establish passing points on tests. Performance standards address an important question: What does it take in terms of test score to demonstrate proficiency? Advanced proficiency?
When? Standards are recommended as part of the Standard Setting and Validation workshops conducted after all test content has been written, edited, and reviewed by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
Who? Panels of Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs), usually High School and Post-Secondary instructors, but also business practitioners, participate in a training on concepts of competence, then make judgments used in factoring the performance standard.
How? CETE staff uses the Angoff method, which involves judgments by SMEs of whether or not (Yes-No) a borderline proficient or borderline advanced test-taker would answer the question correctly. Data are averaged across SME Instructors, and tagged to the item in the CETE item bank. During the first year of release, CETE staff conducts item analysis to select 40-item forms. Then, the weights are pulled over for each item chosen for the final form and the average becomes the cutoff score for Proficient or Advanced levels.