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ERIC Number: ED564348
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
A Brief Look at: Test Scores and the Standard Error of Measurement. E&R Report No. 10.13
Holdzkom, David; Sumner, Brian; McMillen, Brad
Wake County Public School System
In the context of standardized testing, the standard error of measurement (SEM) is a measure of the factors other than the student's actual knowledge of the tested material that may affect the student's test score. Such factors may include distractions in the testing environment, fatigue, hunger, or even luck. This means that a student's observed score may be below or above their "true" level of knowledge. On North Carolina's End-of-Grade (EOG) and End-of-Course (EOC) tests, the SEM is usually estimated at 3-4 scale points. Thus, the SEM is often factored into decisions on promotion/retention and graduation--students scoring within one SEM of Level III (proficient) are often advanced to the next level. However, the SEM is not factored into school accountability metrics, and students scoring below Level III on an EOG or EOC test are not counted as proficient in the school's publicly-reported testing results.
Wake County Public School System. 5625 Dillard Drive, Cary, NC 27518. Tel: 919-431-7215; Fax: 919-431-7193; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Wake County Public School System (WCPSS), Evaluation and Research Department
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina