Testing Standards

Testing Standards

The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (Standards) is a joint product of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME). Published collaboratively by the three organizations since 1966, it represents the gold standard in guidance on testing in the United States and worldwide. The previous edition of Standards was published in 1999.

In March of 2021, NCME, along with its coauthoring organizations AERA and APA, announced the open access release of the 2014 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. This open-access, free download is available here. The paper edition is available for purchase here.

In 2017, AERA, NCME, and APA published a Spanish edition of the Standards. To order the Spanish edition, English edition, or both, please click here.

Additional Information

Important developments occurred in the field of testing between 1999 and 2014, requiring significant revision to Standards. Five areas, in particular, receive attention in the 2014 revision:

  • Examining the accountability issues for the uses of tests in educational policy
  • The concept of accessibility of tests for all examinees
  • Representing more comprehensively the role of tests in the workplace
  • Taking into account the expanding role of technology in testing
  • Improving the structure of the book for better communication of the standards

Standards was revised under the aegis of a management committee created by the three organizations to help them determine when revision was required to address new testing issues, set priorities regarding the significant problem areas to be addressed, and to appoint a group of scholars—a Joint Committee—to prepare the revised document.

Among the problem areas addressed in this revision are the following:

  • The chapters on assessment, program evaluation, and public policy were rewritten to address the uses of tests for educational accountability purposes.
  • A chapter on fairness in testing was added to emphasize accessibility and fairness as fundamental issues in testing. The topics formerly addressed in several chapters are now combined into a single, comprehensive chapter, more broadly cast to support appropriate testing and valid score interpretations for all examinees. Specific concerns about fairness are threaded throughout the book.
  • The chapter on workplace testing and credentialing was reorganized to clarify when a standard is relevant to employment or credentialing.
  • The impact of technology was considered throughout the volume. One major technology issue identified was the tension between the use of proprietary algorithms and test users’ need to evaluate complex applications in areas such as automated scoring of essays, administering and scoring of innovative item types, and computer-based testing.
  • To improve readability, individual standards are now organized under themes, and each chapter in the Foundations section (Part I) now has an overarching standard.

Teams of experts collaborated in developing and crafting Standards, while each of the three organizations assumed responsibility for reviewing the work to ensure quality standards that are robust and applicable across educational and psychological contexts in which tests are developed, administered, and used. Each association’s governing body has formally approved Standards as representing best practice for its members, and, as a further collaboration, the three associations hold the copyright jointly.

AERA was selected to publish the 1999 version and again to publish the 2014 version.

“We are so pleased to publish Standards on behalf of AERA, APA, and NCME,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “Standards is the product of exhaustive consideration of the best guidance possible in educational and psychological testing. The collaboration of associations and scholars represents literally years of bringing the best expertise to bear, and the resulting product offers significant guidance to test preparers, policy makers, and test and measurement faculty.”

Revenue from the sale of Standards produces are held in a development fund, maintained in a restricted account, to assure that adequate resources will be available for future revisions.