NY State Extends Truth-In-Testing Legislation to Computerized Testing

University Testing

The New York State Assembly and Senate have given overwhelming approval to legislation that would extend limited truth-in-testing protections to university admissions exams administered via computer. It is now up to Governor George Pataki to determine the proposal s fate. Since the legislature is in recess, there is no deadline for gubernatorial action.


Initially the bill, A. 5648-C, will require test-makers to periodically file sample copies of the computerized Graduate Record Exam with the state Commissioner of Education. By the year 2000, testing companies must implement procedures to allow test-takers who sit for computerized exams to review their questions and answers, as they can do now on written forms of the exams.


Other sections of A. 5648-C aim to resolve long-standing legal challenges to the 1979 truth-in-testing law (see Examiner, Summer 1995) by incorporating into statute stipulations that test-manufacturers and state officials have previously accepted. These agreements have assured periodic disclosure of items on pencil-and-paper exams as well as public reporting of crucial test data on a schedule that all parties previously agreed to in federal court.


Such requirements have served New York residents well over the last decade and a half. Many exam errors have been uncovered and the scores of thousands of test-takers corrected due to data made public under these provisions.


Some test-makers, such as the College Board and Educational Testing Service, lobbied against the extension of truth-in-testing provisions to computerized exams, just as they opposed the original law. But the American College Testing Program testified that the disclosure requirements have actually helped improve the quality of their product.


Indeed, New York's truth-in-testing statute has been so effective that it has become the de facto law-of-the-land. If Gov. Pataki approves the extension to computerized tests, the new provisions are also likely to help test-takers in all fifty states.