External Reviewer

External Review of Item Quality


An External Review is a best practice as defined by the American Educational Research Association in its 2014 manual entitled Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. We work with a wide range of educators from all types and sizes of school districts nationwide to perform an ongoing external review of our STAAR Test Maker item quality.

If you are an educator, current or former, who would like to participate in the external review of our item quality, please fill out the form on this page, and we will contact you with more information.

Participate in the external review of STAAR Test Maker.

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Progress Testing External Reviewer Item Rating Sheet-1



Content Validity Review


Our items go through a series of internal and external reviews to ensure content validity in a number of areas. We establish that our items:

  • accurately assess the standard for which they are written;
  • have appropriate content focus;
  • are grade-level appropriate in terms of context, vocabulary level, and sentence structure;
  • have the correct Webb DOK rating;
  • are free of clueing and clanging;
  • have well-formed distractors, including those based on commonly made student errors;
  • are free of all forms of bias.



Bias and Sensitivity Review


The presence of offensive, inflammatory, controversial, upsetting or disrespectful material in tests may lower the confidence of students, parents, educators, and community members in the test and may cause emotional reactions amongst test‐takers.

As part of both its Internal and External Review processes, and in compliance with the American Educational Research Association’s 2014 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, all passages and items in STAAR Test Maker undergo a Bias and Sensitivity Review.


Progress Testing’s External Review process ensures that ALL items in STAAR Test Maker have been reviewed—not just for accuracy, but also for bias and sensitivity by a representative group of expert educators from across the United States:

  • Urban, suburban, and rural public school districts
  • Small, medium, and large public school districts
  • Public school teachers and district-level staff certified and having teaching experience in the content area
  • Balance of gender and racial/ethnic groups of reviewers
  • Balance of teaching experience in the content areas
  • Retired public school teachers and district-level staff formerly certified and having teaching experience in the content area
  • Post-secondary professionals experienced in the content area
  • A number of item reviewers with expertise in Exceptional Student Education (ESE) and English Language Learner (ELL) populations


The Bias and Sensitivity Review ensures that the primary purpose of assessing student achievement is not undermined by inadvertently including in the item bank any material that students, parents, or other stakeholders may deem inappropriate.


As a result, STAAR Test Maker demonstrates diversity and respect of all individuals and groups:

  • Males and females are equally represented
  • People traditionally considered members of minority groups are well-represented
  • People of different ages, physical abilities, and socioeconomic status are depicted
  • A wide variety of life situations, living conditions, types of housing, types of families, and regions are depicted


Because STAAR Test Maker endeavors to be inclusive and sensitive to the needs of all test takers and stakeholders, our rigorous review process ensures that the item bank is also free of the following topics:

  • Accidents, natural disasters, disease and epidemics
  • Abuse of people or animals, including physical and/or sexual violence
  • Experimentation on people or animals that may be perceived as dangerous or painful
  • Killing animals for sport
  • The occult, witches, ghosts (except when part of an authentic work of literature)
  • Topics of a sexual nature such as sexual behavior or sexual innuendo including pregnancy in minors, use of contraceptives
  • Alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
  • Death and dying, including suicide and euthanasia
  • The use of firearms or weapons
  • Religious beliefs and disputes
  • Partisan political issues
  • Ethnic conflicts and discriminatory perspectives
  • Frightening animals, reptiles, and insects
  • Green lighting of dangerous activities and/or risky behaviors
  • Brand names and luxury items
  • Family problems
  • Holidays of a religious nature
  • Homelessness, eviction, deportation
  • Poor diet choices including junk/fast foods
  • Obesity and other negative characteristics
  • Medical problems and medicines
  • War and other human suffering such as terrorist attacks and slavery


Participate in the external review of the STAAR Test Maker item bank.

Begin Your Application