DRC’s Test Development group is known for creating valid and reliable assessments aligned to states’ existing or new standards, including college- and career-readiness standards.

We work with educators to analyze state-specific content standards and curriculum. We also work with our state department of education clients as well as educators to design test plans, write items, conduct item tryouts, and design and produce final test forms.

Our item and test development specialists collectively have expertise in all content areas such as reading, mathematics, science, English language arts, and social studies. Our team also includes item and test development specialists in the field of English language learners, and experts in special education who develop state-specific alternate assessments for students with disabilities. Most of our specialists hold advanced degrees in their fields of expertise and have had years of teaching experience, offering them great insight into a student’s actual classroom experience during test taking, as well as insight into the development of instructional supports designed to provide the critical link between assessment and instruction.

DRC’s Content Development and Test Design Services, include:

  • Formative, diagnostic, and summative items and tests
  • Item and test specifications
  • Traditional hand- and machine-scored items, and technology-enhanced auto-scorable items
  • Paper/pencil and online test form construction
  • Standards alignment and alignment studies
  • Cognitive labs and small-scale tryouts
  • Grade-level expectations
  • Performance-level descriptors and standard settings
  • Review and technical advisory committees
  • Committee review facilitation
  • New item review and item performance data review (e.g. in-person and virtual reviews)
  • Study guides, online tool guides, and practice tests
  • Professional development workshops
  • Units and lesson plans
  • Instructional strategies
  • Spanish translation services

When developing items and tests, we follow a series of steps uniformly recognized as industry standards that align with The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Psychological Association (APA), & National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), 2014) and with the Principles of Universal Design.

For example, our writers benefit from training that focuses not only on traditional item-writing best practices, but also on best practices for the development of evidence-centered design items and assessments. This specialized training in evidence-centered design item writing and test development is crucial when developing items and tests to measure new standards such as college- and career-readiness standards. The items and tests produced through our rigorous traditional- and evidence-based design item-writer training, and item writing and review process, help create assessments that provide for better links between assessment and classroom teaching.