Aligning Test Scoring Procedures with Test Uses: A Balancing Act


  • Leanne R. Ketterlin Geller Southern Methodist University
  • Lindsey Perry Southen Methodist univeristy
  • Linda M. Platas San Francisco State University
  • Yasmin Sitabkhan RTI, International Education Division


Early Grade Mathematics Assessment, EGMA, test scoring procedures, testing programs


Test scoring procedures should align with the intended uses and interpretations of test results. In this paper, we examine three test scoring procedures for an operational assessment of early numeracy, the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA). Current test specifications call for subscores to be reported for each of the eight subtests on the EGMA. This test scoring procedures has been criticized as being difficult for stakeholders to use and interpret, thereby impacting the overall usefulness of the EGMA for informing decisions. We examine the psychometric properties including the reliability and distinctiveness of the results and usefulness of reporting test scores as (1) total scores, (2) subscores, and (3) composite scores. These test scoring procedures are compared using data from an actual administration of the EGMA. Conclusions and recommendations for test scoring procedures are made. Generalizations to other testing programs are proposed.

Author Biographies

Leanne R. Ketterlin Geller, Southern Methodist University

Leanne Ketterlin Geller, PhD, is the Texas Instruments Endowed Chair in Education and professor in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University. Her research focuses on supporting student achievement in mathematics through developing technically rigorous formative assessment procedures and effective classroom practices. Her work emphasizes valid
decision-making systems for students with diverse needs.

Lindsey Perry, Southen Methodist univeristy

Lindsey Perry, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor at Southern Methodist University. Her current research interests focus on investigating children's spatial and relational reasoning abilities, developing mathematics assessments for young children, and training educators on how to use data from assessments to make instructional decisions.

Linda M. Platas, San Francisco State University

Linda M. Platas, PhD, is the associate chair of the Child and Adolescent Development Department at SF State University. She has participated in the development of child assessment instruments including the Early Grades Math Assessment (EGMA) and the Measuring Early Learning Quality and Outcomes (MELQO) and served as an expert in mathematics and literacy development on many technical and policy groups. She is a member of the Development and Research in Early Math Education (DREME) Network.

Yasmin Sitabkhan, RTI, International Education Division

Dr. Yasmin Sitabkhan, PhD, is a Senior Early Childhood Education Researcher and Advisor in RTI’s International Education Division. In her current role at RTI, Dr. Sitabkhan provides technical support to projects in low- and middle-income countries in early mathematics. Her research interests focus on children’s development of early mathematical concepts and instructional strategies to support learning in low- and middle-income contexts. Dr. Sitabkhan has a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Berkeley.