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Addressing the Extreme Assumptions of Presumed Linkings



The interpretability of score comparisons depends on the design and execution of a sound data collection plan and the establishment of linkings between these scores. When comparisons are made between scores from two or more assessments that are built to different specifications and are administered to different populations under different conditions, the validity of the comparisons hinges on untestable assumptions. For example, tests administered across different disability groups or tests administered to different language groups produce scores for which implicit linkings are presumed to hold. Presumed linking makes use of extreme assumptions to produce links between scores on tests in the absence of common test material or equivalent groups of test takers. These presumed linkings lead to dubious interpretations. This article suggests an approach that indirectly assesses the validity of these presumed linkings among scores on assessments that contain neither equivalent groups nor common anchor material.