Cut scores are points on a distribution of scores representing the minimum scores required for performance at specific levels. They are used to categorize performance on assessments into each of the performance levels. In high-stake tests the cut score becomes the passing score determining either passing or failing the test.
The measured achievements have to be considered as continua. Dividing each of these continua is essentially arbitrary. The result consists in a number of divisions (cut points) that mark the boundaries of the divisions. The establishment of cut scores represents one of the most critical test development issues, especially for test with any consequences for examinees. Standard-setting methods used to determine cut scores require expert judgments about the expected performance at each level. The cut scores determining each level are available with the descriptions because there is a need of reporting student performance not just...