Performance Standards: Selected Response Item Formats


Setting performance standards means implementing a process that identifies one or more points on a score scale to create categories of observed test scores. More fully, Cizek (1993: 100) has defined standard setting as ‘the proper following of a prescribed, rational system of rules or procedures resulting in the assignment of a number to differentiate between two or more states or degrees of performance’. This differentiation can result in dichotomous classifications such as Master/Non-master or Pass/Fail. Standard setting can also result in more than two categories or achievement levels, such as Basic/Proficient/Advanced or the familiar grades of A, B, C, D, F.

In practice, setting a performance standard has become nearly synonymous with deriving one or more cutting scores. However, as Kane (1994) has pointed out, ...

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