Establishing construct validity of the Biology I Subject Area Testing program in Mississippi

Christy Michelle Hollis Philippoff

Abstract

Science education has undergone many revisions since it was permanently embedded in the country's educational curriculum at the end of the 19th century. Some of these revisions occurred as a direct result of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). This legislation placed more accountability on schools than ever before by requiring that all students pass a series of standardized tests (USDE, 2010). High schools in Mississippi require four areas of standardized testing: English II, Algebra I, U.S. History, and Biology I (Wroten, 2008). The focus of this study is the Biology I Subject Area Test. In an effort to determine the validity of that test, this study explores the importance of the Mississippi Biology I content standards according to the importance ratings and frequency of use ratings by science professionals in Mississippi. The science professionals surveyed for this study were high school science teachers, college science professors and scientists in their professional settings. The science professionals' importance ratings were compared to the importance ratings placed on the content strands by the Mississippi Biology I Subject Area Test. To further determine the test's validity, it is also compared to the National Science Education Standards.