Building a defensible examination program requires specialized knowledge and experience.

Psychometricians generally have a graduate degree in a field like education or psychology specializing in statistical methods related to testing. Yardstick’s approach is not to shroud the complexities of this field in a veil of mystery; rather we demystify the processes involved in creating defensible assessments involving our clients every step of the way.


This collaborative approach is just one of the reasons why Yardstick is a cut above the rest when it comes to psychometric services and building defensible examination programs.

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Yardstick Assessment Life Cycle

The Assessment Life Cycle is a way of organizing the processes involved in creating sound assessments into a series of easy-to-understand stages. This assessment process provides the foundation of knowledge to begin planning how to ensure the defensibility of your testing program. When an examination program is well designed, each of the Stages represents a link in the chain. The overall strength of the chain determines how strong the claim is that passing the test is equivalent to possessing a sufficient amount of the skills and knowledge required. Although following the Assessment Life Cycle is a necessity for high stakes testing programs (i.e., certification and licensure), elements of the Assessment Life Cycle can be applied to all testing contexts, regardless of stakes, in order to help make testing defensible and fair for candidates.



Stage 1: Defining Target and Creating Specifications

In this stage an organization decides what they would like their assessment to be able to conclude about test takers, a competency profile.

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Stage 2: Item Development

Item development is careful work that requires several groups of experts, working together to ensure that the right numbers of items in the right categories are created.

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Stage 3: Assembling Exam Form(s)

Where we construct one or more exam forms from the quality items that have been authored and reviewed in the item bank.

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Stage 4: Test Administration

The central concern here is to create conditions for administration and the handling of key and sensitive information that are consistent with the ‘seriousness’ of the exam.

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Stage 5: Item and Test Analysis

Item and Test Analysis involves analyzing the data that has been collected from an examination administration to psychometrically evaluate the quality of the items and exam forms.

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Stage 6: Standard Setting

Standard setting involves a panel of subject matter experts and stakeholders who must estimate the difficulty of questions for minimally-competent, or borderline candidates.

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Download our Assessment Life Cycle Whitepapers!

The Yardstick White Paper library is a fantastic resource for organizations wanting to learn more about psychometrics and how they relate to high stakes assessment. Our goal at Yardstick is to demystify psychometric processes and work collaboratively with our clients.
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