Computer modeling of the instructionally insensitive nature of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exam



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Stakeholders of the educational system assume that standardized tests are transparently about the subject content being tested and therefore can be used as a metric to measure achievement in outcome-based educational reform. Both analysis of longitudinal data for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exam and agent based computer modeling of its underlying theoretical testing framework have yielded results that indicate the exam only rank orders students on a persistent but uncharacterized latent trait across domains tested as well as across years. Such persistent rank ordering of students is indicative of an instructionally insensitive exam. This is problematic in the current atmosphere of high stakes testing which holds teachers, administrators, and school systems accountable for student achievement.