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High School Competency Test (HSCT)

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Limitations and Considerations

The school districts in the state differ on a variety of characteristics. To judge the educational effectiveness of a district based solely on these results would be a misuse of the data. Several factors should be considered in interpreting the assessment results.

  1. The October 1995 assessment did not measure all goals of education. Only a portion of the skills taught in communications and mathematics was assessed. Thus, conclusions should be limited to the specific content areas and skills tested rather than to the entire curriculum.
  2. The skills tested in the assessment are the minimum skills that each student should attain. Achievement of these basic skills reflects only a beginning step on the instructional ladder. They provide the basis for more advanced learning experiences in a variety of subject areas and performance levels.
  3. The HSCT administered in October 1995 assessed a revised version of the performance skills. Therefore, although these scores are related to scores obtained on the previous version of the HSCT, they are not directly comparable.
  4. Performance on individual skills was not statistically equated; only performance on the entire test form was equated. For subsequent forms of the HSCT, the test questions selected for each skill may be slightly harder or slightly easier, and the number of questions used to test each skill may vary somewhat. This means that caution must be used when comparing performance on skills for different administrations of the HSCT.

When considering these limitations on the interpretation of the data, examination of the results can identify both curricular strengths and weaknesses. From such an examination, the need for remedial programs or different allocations of resources may become apparent. The purpose of the Statewide Assessment Program is to provide data to help decision makers at all levels of instruction.

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