Green Testifies Before Senate on Test Development

APA member Bert Green, Jr., PhD, provided expert testimony in October before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, regarding the development of immigration tests for persons seeking U. S. citizenship.

The Immigration Subcommittee, chaired by Alan K. Simpson (R-WY), had requested information to be presented at an oversight hearing on the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Specifically, the Subcommittee sought information on developing tests to measure candidates' ability to use the English language, as well as their knowledge of U.S. history and government. Dr. Green, a member of the American Educational Research Association/APA/National Council on Measurement in Education Joint Committee that is revising the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, informed the subcommittee of the technical aspects of test development and explained the importance of developing products that meet high standards. Dr. Green emphasized how critical it is to standardize the testing process to ensure equal treatment of all candidates.

In the near future, the INS will request proposals from external agencies to develop and validate a new civics test for persons seeking to become naturalized citizens of the United States. Immigration subcommittee members expressed concern with reports of fraud and other practices that threaten the integrity of tests currently in place. Dr. Green highlighted the importance of developing a large number of test items in order to have several versions of the test available. He noted that many new tests are administered by computer and that computer-based testing programs have several advantages, including standardization, efficiency, and security. Dr. Green encouraged the INS to select a testing program similar to the Department of Defense's Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), the large-scale testing program used to select candidates for military service.

Copies of Dr. Green's testimony are available from the Science Directorate. If you would like to receive a copy, call (202) 336-6000, send e-mail to, or write to:

Science Directorate
750 First St., NE
Washington, DC 20002

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