Education Test Developer: Education, Salary, and Outlook
As part of the curriculum development team, an education test developer helps students to assess their performance. The test questions reveal areas of strength or weakness among students, which allows teachers to adapt their presentations to address these learning gaps. It can be difficult to create test questions without cultural biases and with clear answers. However, this allows schools to objectively measure student achievement.
Education test developers are responsible for exams such as the High School Placement Test and General Education Development Test. They also work on other exams such as the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test and Law School Admission Test. These exams can help students determine their future career paths.
At a glance: Education test developer
A test developer in education is someone who creates the assessments that are used by students across the country to measure their progress. Each state has an annual assessment to measure learning outcomes. Commonly, college admissions are determined by standardized tests. A test is often the culmination of licensure exams, board certifications, and many other educational activities.
Education test developers design documents to measure students’ knowledge after completing their schooling. Although the career path for test developers has grown tremendously in the last few decades, the backlash against standard tests could make it difficult to find a job. This field could shrink as colleges question the validity and educators debate the efficacy of teaching to the test and not the subject matter.
Daily expectations for an education tester developer
Standardized testing has seen a huge increase in popularity since the No Child Left Behind Act was implemented. Students used to take several tests in their K-12 education. In the ’90s, students might have taken the PSAT or SAT. Now, many students are required to take an annual exam. Education test developers are more in demand as there is more testing. Education test developers are often asked to:
- Participate in task force meetings and analyze data to determine knowledge, skills, or abilities that require testing
- When revising or developing test questions, it is important to research primary sources.
- Edit the test questions
- Meetings to establish standards, determine how exams are scored, and define what constitutes a passing score should be scheduled and supervised
- Test materials should be kept confidential and secure.
- Set deadlines and establish a schedule
- Collaborate with many stakeholders to develop testing materials
- Before production, ensure that tests are correct and free from errors
- Prepare post-testing reports about results
A good education test developer must have the following skills
Although education test developers might not spend much time in classrooms, they still require many of the same skills as teachers.
- Excellent written and oral communication with a range of stakeholders, from policy-makers to test-takers,
- Ability to communicate with others, especially via digital channels.
- Attention to detail and high levels of accuracy are key.
- Excellent time management skills and ability to meet deadlines
- Exceptional security practices
- An excellent track record of dependability with the metrics to support it
This field is constantly evolving and new technology could play an important role in the future. Some school districts are exploring the possibility of using cumulative test scores from various assessments throughout the year. Based on federal policy changes, adaptive learning programs could replace some of the more difficult testing requirements.
Behind the scores: Education test designer
What is the average time it takes to become an educator test developer?
Education: Master’s or Doctorate
Typical Study Time: 5-10 Years
Education test developers, like other jobs in curriculum development or instructional coordinators, often need a master’s degree. Education test developers might also require specific expertise depending on the subject matter. Developers who work on the LSAT may need a law degree while developers working on the MCAT may need a medical degree.
Higher levels of the test require more education to be able to ask questions that reveal relevant information about the student.
Education test developers require certifications
It is often dependent on where you live that certification requirements are required. Some states require teaching certificates, while others may not. As an acceptable qualification to become an educator test developer, an EdD degree can be accepted in all states.
Expected earnings as a developer of education tests
ZipRecruiter.com states that education test developer salaries can range from $70,179 to $99,288, depending upon the state. Experience may not have a significant impact on salaries due to the high education requirements and low salary variance.
Here’s a quick overview of what the expected salaries could be:
- Payscale: $70,000
- ZipRecruiter: $90,743
- Glassdoor: $61,763
Education test developers have many opportunities
Education test developers often have similar salaries to instructional coordinators. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 6% increase in job opportunities in curriculum development by 2028. This is about average. Recent negative press about standardized testing may hurt the growth of education test developers. For example, if colleges stop using SAT scores it could lead to significant layoffs in certain parts of the industry.
What are the pros and cons of being an educator test developer?
As a test developer, you often earn more than a teacher. The median salary for teachers is $57,980 annually, according to the BLS. You will also have more office hours and vacation time during the school year. There are many travel opportunities.
One of the biggest downsides to working as an educator test developer is the uncertainty around standardized tests and their future. Also, dealing with complaints from low-scoring students and their families, and too much traveling.
As an educator test developer, you can go even further
Education test developers do not have any specific growth opportunities. Developers might be assigned to oversee the creation of a test. You might also consider a lateral move to curriculum design. This will allow you to transition into policy creation.
As an educator test developer, it is important to stay current
A continuing education program is necessary for an education test developer to keep up with changes in curricula or course design. Test developers might not have to complete the same number of CE credits as teachers. Teaching CEs can be of great value to professionals who design the assessment that judges teaching. An education test developer might benefit from a graduate education in instructional design and/or educational technology to stay current with education technology trends.
Stay current through digital sources
There are more ways than ever for education test developers to communicate with school administrators, teachers, students, parents, and frontline educators. Online and social media allow you to view the difficulties faced by other test developers, identify weak points, and address complaints and concerns. Here are some top resources for people involved in creating standardized tests.