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How the Tests Were Developed

The synopsis that follows describes the rigorous process that was used to carefully develop each customized test in the AEPA program.

1. Develop the Test Objectives

The content of each test is developed and documented in the test objectives. Test objectives are organized into groups known as "subareas" that define the major content areas of the test. Each subarea consists of objectives that are accompanied by descriptive statements that further elaborate the content of the test objective.

During preparation of the test objectives, key state and national documents and Arizona educators are consulted. Committees of Arizona educators review the test objectives and make revisions, as necessary, to ensure that the test objectives are accurate, free of bias, job related, representative of the diversity of the state, and consistent with the purposes of the AEPA program.

2. Validate Test Content

A content validation survey is conducted, using a sample of practicing Arizona K–12 educators and teacher preparation program faculty to ensure that the test objectives reflect the knowledge and skills considered to be important for performing the job of an educator in Arizona.

3. Develop Test Questions

Test questions are developed to assess the content defined by the test objectives. Committees of Arizona educators are convened to review and validate the test questions. Test questions are field-tested in Arizona.

4. Set Passing Scores

A committee of Arizona educators is convened for each test undergoing development to recommend a passing score to the Arizona State Board of Education for adoption.

Learn about the test development process for the NES tests.

Bias Prevention

Prevention of bias in the AEPA was recognized as essential to the fairness and validity of the program. Bias prevention measures included careful development and sustained scrutiny of test items by Evaluation Systems and structured reviews in Arizona by members of the Bias Review Committee (BRC) and Content Advisory Committees (CACs). Both committees were directed to review the test materials for potential bias, and the BRC especially focused on this review criterion.

In test development processes that involved the participation of Arizona educators, efforts were made to include a diverse group of participants. Such processes included the review of the test objectives, the Content Validation Survey, the validation of test items, and the recommendation of passing scores.


Validation of the AEPA was designed to establish that the tests met the purposes for which they were designed. With input from the CAC and the BRC, the test development process involved industry-accepted procedures for the validation of licensure and certification tests. The validation approach was content based, as is appropriate for tests of this type that measure content knowledge required for licensure or certification. The content of the AEPA tests is specified clearly in the test objectives and test items, and the focus of AEPA validation steps was on these test elements.

The test preparation process was structured to gather validity evidence at multiple points, including:

  • the analysis of Arizona standards documents and other Arizona-approved resources in developing the test objectives;
  • the review of test objectives by Arizona educators on the BRC and the CAC for each test field;
  • the validation of test objectives by Arizona educators through the Content Validation Survey; and
  • the validation of test items by Arizona educators on the BRC and the CAC for each test field.