34 CFR § 668.146 - Criteria for approving tests.
(a) Except as provided in § 668.148, the Secretary approves a test under this subpart if -
(1) The test meets the criteria set forth in paragraph (b) of this section;
(2) The test publisher or the State satisfies the requirements set forth in paragraph (c) of this section; and
(3) The Secretary makes a determination that the information the test publisher or State submitted in accordance with § 668.144(c)(17) or (d)(8), as applicable, provides adequate assurance that the test publisher or State will conduct rigorous test anomaly analyses and take appropriate action if test administrators do not comply with testing procedures.
(b) To be approved under this subpart, a test must -
(1) Assess secondary school level basic verbal and quantitative skills and general learned abilities;
(2) Sample the major content domains of secondary school level verbal and quantitative skills with sufficient numbers of questions to -
(i) Adequately represent each domain; and
(ii) Permit meaningful analyses of item-level performance by students who are representative of the contemporary population beyond the age of compulsory school attendance and have earned a high school diploma;
(3) Require appropriate test-taking time to permit adequate sampling of the major content domains described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section;
(4) Have all forms (including short forms) comparable in reliability;
(5) Have, in the case of a test that is revised, new scales, scale values, and scores that are demonstrably comparable to the old scales, scale values, and scores;
(6) Meet all standards for test construction provided in the 1999 edition of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, prepared by a joint committee of the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education incorporated by reference in this section. Incorporation by reference of this document has been approved by the Director of the Office of the Federal Register pursuant to the Director's authority under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. The incorporated document is on file at the Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, room 113E2, 830 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20002, phone (202) 377-4026, and at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 1-866-272-6272, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html. The document also may be obtained from the American Educational Research Association at: http://www.aera.net; and
(7) Have the test publisher's or the State's guidelines for retesting, including time between test-taking, be based on empirical analyses that are part of the studies of test reliability.
(c) In order for a test to be approved under this subpart, a test publisher or a State must -
(1) Include in the test booklet or package -
(i) Clear, specific, and complete instructions for test administration, including information for test takers on the purpose, timing, and scoring of the test; and
(ii) Sample questions representative of the content and average difficulty of the test;
(2) Have two or more secure, equated, alternate forms of the test;
(3) Except as provided in §§ 668.148 and 668.149, provide tables of distributions of test scores which clearly indicate the mean score and standard deviation for high school graduates who have taken the test within three years prior to the date that the test is submitted to the Secretary for approval under § 668.144;
(4) Norm the test with -
(i) Groups that are of sufficient size to produce defensible standard errors of the mean and are not disproportionately composed of any race or gender; and
(ii) A contemporary sample that is representative of the population of persons who have earned a high school diploma in the United States; and
(5) If test batteries include sub-tests assessing different verbal and/or quantitative skills, a distribution of test scores as described in paragraph (c)(3) of this section that allows the Secretary to prescribe either -
(i) A passing score for each sub-test; or
(ii) One composite passing score for verbal skills and one composite passing score for quantitative skills.