Is the Scantron Performance Series a Good Way to Gauge Students Capabilities?

Despite sharing many of the same shortcomings of other multiple-choice, standardized assessments, many educators consider the Scantron Performance Series to be a valuable tool for assessing students' capabilities. Scantron cites the validity of its assessment by comparing students' scores to those from other assessments deemed valid.

The Scantron Performance Series is an adaptive, computer-based assessment designed to test the proficiency of students from grades two to 12. Assessments do not require additional hardware or software, just a Windows or Macintosh computer with Internet access.

The Scantron Performance Series tests students' proficiency in reading, mathematics, life sciences and scientific inquiry, and language arts. The assessment series has three primary functions for educators: to accurately place students, to diagnosis instructional needs and adjustments and to measure student gains across reporting periods.

One way to judge the validity of an assessment is through the theory of concurrent validity. This states that an assessment is valid if its results provide a strong positive correlation to the results of another assessment already deemed valid. In 2008, Scantron reading assessment results had a .755 to .844 correlation to the Illinois Standardized Achievement Test reading scores for grades four to eight. Math score correlations ranged from .749 to .823. These results indicate that the Scantron Performance Series is a valid form of assessment of students' capabilities.