Australian Council for Educational Research
19 Prospect Hill Rd,
Camberwell, VIC 3124, Australia
T: +613 9277 5555
F: +613 9277 5757
The Trial Test represents a good opportunity for schools about to participate in the February ISA or schools thinking of participating in the ISA proper to get an indication of the kind of material used and to have a practice run.
ISA Trial Tests are conducted annually to determine whether the test materials developed are appropriate for the main administrations. Statistical analyses are carried out on the trial test data, and these along with comments from teachers/administrators are used to determine what has "worked", and can go into the final tests. We depend on the good will of schools to help us with this part of the test development process.
Trial tests are held annually at the end of January and registration is open to ISA Feb schools and schools interested in participating in trial testing only (we do not include ISA October schools in the trial test due to the timing of the trial in late January). The next trial test will be held from 27 January-31 January 2014. There is no cost to schools involved in the trial test, except in time. All costs associated with the courier delivery and return of ISA trial test materials will be covered by ACER.
The Trial Test covers the domains of Reading and Mathematical Literacy. Each Trial Test booklet contains a selection of items that we need to try out with a similar population to the one that will ultimately do the real test, to make sure the questions work well. Generally the trial tests are somewhat shorter than the final forms, as well as not necessarily representative of the whole test construct. There is no attempt in our trial test booklets to attain the kind of construct representation that we use for designing the final forms, so the Mathematical Literacy 'A' form may have, for example, a disproportionate number of chance and data items, or the 'B' form may be considerably harder than the 'A' form. While we hope the trial test gives some idea of the kind of material that appears in the real test, its main purpose is to test the questions to see if they are appropriate for the grade level in terms of difficulty and in terms of language, cultural content and so on.
We generally trial test every question with at least three adjacent grade levels. Ultimately we use common questions across grades, in the real tests, to develop a single scale that spans grade 3 to grade 10 in each of the domains (reading, mathematical literacy and writing).
We DO NOT issue any results for the trial test.
To participate in ISA trial testing complete the ISA Registration
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