Using Applied Demography in Product Development: Response to Changing Market Conditions in Educational Testing
Victoria Locke, Pearson Education & The University of Texas at San Antonio
Use of norm-referenced tests in educational assessment have ebbed and flowed through changes in national policy. The purpose of this research is to assist Pearson Education as they respond to changing market conditions in educational testing. Prior practices stratified the sample with SES at the district level. To increase accuracy in data collection and reduce costs for developing norm-referenced assessments, a more precise SES stratification variable is needed. Data from the American Community Survey,the NCES Common Core data, and Market Data Retrieval were used to create a new SES stratification variable at the school level, based on the demographic characteristics of the student population. Based on analysis with school-level achievement in California, Texas, Missouri, New York, and North Carolina, the school-level SES variable better predicts the mean achievement score at the school. This will allow the company to mitigate risk in a fluctuating market while maintaining quality.