You are here

Standard Setting

Standard Setting
A Guide to Establishing and Evaluating Performance Standards on Tests

First Edition

November 2006 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Standard Setting: A Guide to Establishing and Evaluating Performance Standards on Tests provides the only "go-to" reference on how to set standards on tests in education, licensure, and certification. It is comprehensive in scope, practical in nature, and definitive in terms of cataloguing the essential conceptual and procedural fundamentals of setting performance standards.

Key Features:

" Offers an overview of the importance of standard setting, current demands, legislation, formats, and licensure and certification contents

" Provides a detailed look at the distinctions between oft-confused concepts such as "content standards" and "performance standards"

" Gives a straightforward review of the common elements in setting performance standards

" Provides detailed inclusion of the various methods (Angoff, Item Mapping, Analystic Judgment, etc.)for setting performance standards

" Includes a full chapter devoted to the future issues and research in standard setting as well as a glossary of key terms and a full set of references to aid the reader's literature review

1. Contemporary Standard Setting: An Enduring Need
The Need to Make Decisions

The Benefits of Standard Setting

General Approaches to Standard Setting

Current Contexts for Standard Setting

2. What is Standard Setting?
Kinds of Standards

Definitions of Standard Setting

Policy Issues and Standard Setting

Item Scoring Criteria and Total-Test Performance Standards


3. Common Elements in Setting Preformance Standards

Choosing a Standard Setting Method

Performance Level Labels

Performance Level Descriptions

Key Conceptualizations

Selecting and Training Participants

Evaluating Standard Setting

Providing Feedback to Participants

Professional Guidelines for Standard Setting

Evaluating Standard Setting


4. The Nedelsky Method
Procedures for the Nedelsky Method

Alternative Procedures and Limitations

5. The Ebel Method
Procedures for the Ebel Method

Alternative Procedures and Limitations

6. The Angoff Method and Angoff Variations
Procedures for the Angoff Method

Procedures for Angoff Variations

Alternative Procedures and Limitations

7. The Direct Consensus Method
Procedures for the Direct Consensus Method

Alternative Procedures and Limitations

8. The Contrasting Groups and Borderline Group Methods
Procedures for the Contrasting Groups Method

An Example Using the Contrasting Groups Method

The Borderline Group Method

Alternative Procedures and Limitations

9. The Body of Work and Other Holistic Methods
The Judgmental Policy Capturing Method

The Dominant Profile Method

The Analytic Judgment Method

Summary Analysis of Three Holistic Methods

Overview of the Body of Work Method

Procedures for the Body of Work Method

An Application the Body of Work Method

Alternative Procedures and Limitations

10. The Bookmark Method
Overview of the Bookmark Method

An Implementation of the Bookmark Method

Alternative Procedures and Limitations

11. The Item-Descriptor Matching Method
Procedures for the IDM Method

Alternative Procedures and Limitations

12. The Hofstee and Beuk Methods
The Hofstee Method

Procedures for Implementing the Hofstee Method

The Beuk Method

Procedures for Implementing the Beuk Method

Alternative Procedures and Limitations

13. Scheduling Standard Setting Activities
Scheduling Standard Setting for Educational Assessments

Scheduling Standard Setting for Credentialing Programs

Conclusions and Recommendations

14. Vertically-Moderated Standard Setting
The Interrelated Challenges

A Brief History of Vertically-Moderated Standard Setting

What Is Vertically-Moderated Standard Setting?

Approaches to VMSS

Applications of VMSS

An Illustration of VMSS Procedures

Alternative Procedures and Limitations

15. Standard Setting on Alternate Assessments
The Unique Challenges of Alternate Assessment

Necessary Conditions for Alternate Assessment Systems

A Generalized Holistic (GH) Method

Limitations and Alternative Procedures

16. Special Topics and Next Steps

Methods of Adjusting Cut Scores

Deciding How to Incorporate Uncertainty

Generalizability of Standards

Using Multiple Methods of Standard Setting

Improving Participant Training


A well-timed text, given the legislated requirement of performance standards in our K-12 educational system, as well as the continued need in the process of credentialing professionals.  This book would be useful to individuals retained to produce or coordinate standard-setting activites.


It is abundantly apparent that the authors know standard setting and themselves have implemented numerous standard-setting procedures using different methods for different types of assessment programs.... Although the book is very practical, someone who has a fair amount of knowledge in standard setting will not feel shortchanged. There is a richness in the discussions of the methods that engages the reader, such as the different modifications of a method and the situational challenge that warranted each modification. Also, when a specific implementation of a method is discussed in detail, the authors are very conscientious in discussing the impetus for the adaptations. The historical perspective presented for some of the methods is quite intriguing.

Journal of Educational Measurement

Recommended for student projects. Excellent for students preparing for greater depth in the topic and specific research projects.

Dr Nancy Sanders
College Of Education, Washington State University - Vancouver
March 15, 2011

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2 - What Is Standard Setting?

Chapter 10 - The Bookmark Method

Chapter 16 - Special Topics and Next Steps

Chapter 3 - Evaluation Form (pdf)

Chapter 3 - Normative Information (xls)

Chapter 3 - Percentages (doc)

Chapter 3 - Reality Information (xls)

Chapter 4 - Nedelsky (xls)

Chapter 5 - Ebel (xls)

Chapter 6 - Angoff (xls)

Chapter 6 - Extended Angoff (xls)

Chapter 6 - yesno (xls)

Chapter 7 - Direct Consensus (xls)

Chapter 8 - Contrasting data (xls)

Chapter 8 - Contrasting data (sav)

Chapter 9 Bow agenda (pdf)

Chapter 9 - Bow Data 1 (xls)

Chapter 9 - Bow Data 2 (xls)

Chapter 9 - Bow Form (xls)

Chapter 9 - Bow samples (pdf)

Chapter 10 - Bookmarktraining, bookmark (PPS)

Chapter 10 - Bookmarktraining, bookmarkNTG (pdf)

Chapter 10 - Bookmarktraining, practice (pdf)

Chapter 10 - Bookmark (xls)

Chapter 11 - IDM Form (xls)

Chapter 13 - Materials 1, agenda (pdf)

Chapter 13 - Materials 1, angoff overview (PPS)

Chapter 13 - Materials 1, bookmark (pdf)

Chapter 13 - Materials 1, bookmark overview (pps)

Chapter 13 - Materials 1, evaluation form (pdf)

Chapter 13 - Materials 1, Holistic overview (pps)

Chapter 13 - Materials 1, letters (pdf)

Chapter 13 - Materials 1, Readiness form (pdf)

Chapter 13 - Materials 1, Security agreement (pdf)

Chapter 13 - Materials 2, Impact (xls)

Chapter 13 - Materials 2, Ordered Item Booklets (xls)

Chapter 13 - Materials 2, PLDs (pdf)

Chapter 13 - Materials 2, Round summaries (xls)

Chapter 13 - Cert scheduling (xls)

Chapter 13 - Ed schedule (xls)

Chapter 13 - Letters (pdf)

Chapter 14 - vmss, Agenda (pdf)

Chapter 14 - vmss, Articulation (pps)

Chapter 14 - vmss, Overall distribution scores_Round 2 (xls)

Chapter 15 - ghm, ghm (xls)

Chapter 15 - ghm, VastDSet (pps)

Chapter 3 - Feedback Form (pdf)

Chapter 3 - Raw Score Distribution (xls)

Gregory J. Cizek

Gregory J. Cizek is Professor of Educational Measurement at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His background in the field of educa­tional assessment includes five years as a manager of licensure and certification testing programs for American College Testing (ACT) in Iowa City, Iowa, and 15 years of teaching experience at the col­lege level, where his teaching assignments have consisted primarily of graduate courses in educational testing, research methods, and statistics. He is the author of over 200 books, chapters, articles, conference papers, and reports. His books include Handbook of Educational Policy (Academic Press,... More About Author

Michael B. Bunch

Michael B. Bunch is Vice-President of Measurement Incorporated, a test development and scoring company serving the statewide assessment community. Dr. Bunch joined MI in 1982 and has built the research and development division of that organization into a team of more than 60 project directors, psychometricians, editors, content specialists, and support staff. Prior to joining MI, Dr. Bunch was a senior professional with NTS Research Corporation, where he provided ESEA Title I evaluation technical assistance to state education agencies. From 1976 to 1978, he was a research psychologist with the American College Testing Program (ACT). Dr.... More About Author

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781412916837
ISBN: 9781412916820

SAGE Research Methods is a research methods tool created to help researchers, faculty and students with their research projects. SAGE Research Methods links over 175,000 pages of SAGE’s renowned book, journal and reference content with truly advanced search and discovery tools. Researchers can explore methods concepts to help them design research projects, understand particular methods or identify a new method, conduct their research, and write up their findings. Since SAGE Research Methods focuses on methodology rather than disciplines, it can be used across the social sciences, health sciences, and more.