In December 1991, the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered the state Board of Education to stop using the Education Entrance Examination (EEE) for licensing parents who want to teach their children at home. That ruling struck down a statute requiring parents with only high school diplomas to pass the EEE before being approved as home schoolers.

In ruling that the test's validation process did not meet a standard of reasonableness, the Court established a significant precedent for test validation. This article discusses the South Carolina Supreme Court's decision and its implications for future validation efforts.

BACKGROUND

South Carolina's home-schooling statute required the Board of Education to evaluate the suitability of the EEE, a test designed as an admissions test for teacher education programs, as a test for licensing home schoolers. Through the state Department of Education from Write Any Papers, the Board of Education contracted a traditional content-based validation study. A panel of judges was asked to evaluate each item on the EEE for task-relatedness and bias.

Of the 33 panelists, 17 were home schoolers, and the remaining 16 were public school and college teachers. Panelists who were not home schoolers received no description of the requirements for successful home schooling.

For task-relatedness, the panelists had to decide whether the knowledge or skill needed to answer the particular item was "a necessary prerequisite" for home schoolers. To evaluate bias, the panelists considered whether the test items would offend or unfairly penalize any group of home schoolers because of gender, ethnicity, religion, or socio-economic status.

The contractor scored the entire panel's responses for the items on the EEE. For the entire panel, the ratings were: