Publications & Resources

Final Report on an Evaluation of the California Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project

Nov 1996

John R. Novak, Alexander Chizhik, and Susane Moran

In this report, a CSE evaluation team found that concerns that the results from the California Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project were being improperly used as components of student grades were largely ungrounded. However, the researchers did find that the tests were often being used to make student placement decisions, a usage that is not recommended or intended by the creators of the tests. According to the researchers, ninety percent of the teachers reported use of test results to inform student placement decisions and 56% said that placement was the most important use of the test results at their site. The intended purpose of the tests was to inform teachers about student mathematics readiness prior to entering California universities. “The magnitude of this usage,” concluded the authors, “certainly indicates that further examination of the ways in which the test results are used is warranted.” In a second part of the evaluation, the researchers found that teacher classroom practices were not influenced by their use of the MDTP mathematics tests.

Novak, J. R., Chizhik, A., & Moran, S. (1996). Final report on an evaluation of the California Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (CSE Report 417). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).