School Psychology Review

Effects Of Curriculum-test Overlap On Standardized Achievement Test Scores: Identifying Systematic Confounds In Educational Decision Making

Paul F. Bell, Francis E. Lentz, Jr. and Janet L. Graden

pp. 644-655

Mini-Series: Understanding and Meeting the Psychological and Educational Needs of African-American and Spanish-Speaking Students

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The effects of curriculum-test overlap on standardized reading test performance (WRAT-R, K-TEA, and WRMT-R) were assessed with 181 first- and second-grade students receiving reading instruction from the MacMillan-R (Smith & Arnold, 1986) reading curriculum. Two methods of quantifying curriculum-test overlap were used to predict the patterns of students’ performance across the three tests and to compare their relative power for prediction. Results were consistent with other findings (Good & Salvia, 1988), examining different grade levels, tests, and curricula, indicating a strong and systematic curriculum bias which could confound educational decisions based on test scores. Neither method of quantifying curriculum-test overlap consistently outperformed the other indicating both are suited for use by researchers and assessment practitioners.