State Board Policy
DESCRIPTOR TERM: FLE Test Disclosure
ADOPTION DATE: Repealed 5/2010
REVISION: October 24,1997
Recommended FLE Test Disclosure Policy
Statement of Policy
1. This policy is adopted to promote valid, reliable, and fair FLE testing for the award of individual high school diplomas and district accountability.
2. Access to FLE test materials is strictly limited to those individuals responsible for test development and administration. All test security policies currently in effect shall continue to be followed. All persons authorized to access FLE secure test materials shall be designated according to procedures specified by the Office of Student Assessment and must sign a nondisclosure agreement prior to such access.
3. No member of the public (including parents of test students) shall be allowed access to FLE secure test materials at anytime. However, upon written request, any person may obtain a copy of the FLE core skills which describe the knowledge and skills tested by the FLE.
4. Any documented possession of FLE secure test materials by an unauthorized individual or any attempt by an unauthorized individual to obtain a copy of or to access any portion of the FLE secure test materials shall constitute a violation of this policy and be punishable under the same standards for fines and jail time as specified for educators in Section 37-16-4 of the Mississippi Code.
The State of Mississippi has a compelling interest in evaluating districts and ensuring that all students have minimum academic skills upon receipt of a high school diploma. To do so, the state must maintain a valid, reliable, and fair testing program which meets all relevant professional mandates. Failure to maintain a secure testing environment violates professional standards and invalidates a test. The state's compelling interest in valid testing outweighs an individual parent's interest in reviewing secure test instruments.
Without secure test instruments, the state id unable to fulfill its duty to ensure that students who receive high school diplomas have learned the mandated core skills. Failure of the state to maintain academic standards for receipt of a high school diploma causes injury to students whose skill deficiencies are not remediated and to employers and educational institutions which rely on high school diplomas to indicate achievement of minimal academic skills.
Prior public disclosure of FLE tests would result in invalid scores and unfairness to some students and districts. Post administration disclosure would require new test forms for each administration. Given the substantial test development costs of producing multiple forms, the current student assessment budget is woefully inadequate for such an effort. In addition, test quality would suffer because items would be used without pretesting and because forms could not be accurately equated to adjust for the inevitable differences in test difficulty across forms.
In short, public disclosure of the FLE would compromise test security, conflict with current security policies for educators, and disable efforts by the state to monitor school effectiveness and individual achievement through legitimate and valid assessment activities.