Computer Tests to Be Covered by Disclosure Law

General Testing

New York Governor George Pataki has signed legislation which will extend truth-in-testing coverage to university admissions exams administered by computers. The new law requires test- makers to periodically make public their questions and "correct" answers.


Chapter 714 of the Acts of 1996 was supported by large majorities of both houses of the state legislature but opposed by the testing industry (see Examiner, Summer 1996). Though they have legal force only in one state, New York's truth-in-testing disclosure provisions, first adopted in 1979, have historically been applied nationally.


The new law is based on invited testimony submitted by FairTest and its allies in the New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG) at hearings convened by Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R.-Port Jefferson), its primary legislative sponsor (see Examiner, Summer 1995).


Beginning immediately, one complete set of items used for the computer adaptive Graduate Record Exam during the past three years must be filed with the state Commissioner of Education. In 1997, a portion of the computerized item pool administered in the past year, equivalent to one pencil-and-paper exam, must be disclosed. The following years, even more items must be made public.


By the year 2000, test-makers must develop a process so that all students who take a computerized test are able to review the questions and answers administered to them. A plan for implementing the full-disclosure procedure for the GRE has to be filed with the state by July 1, 1998. New York's Commissioner of Education must be notified as other exams move to computer administration so that similar procedures can be developed. Other provisions of the new statute clarify disclosure timetables for pencil-and-paper exams which had been the subject of extended litigation (see Examiner, Spring 1995)


* For a copy of the new law, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to "Computer Testing" at FairTest.