Saturday, June 21, 2008

Adaptive tests as the assessment fix for NCLB's narrow approach to testing

In the Value-Added Research Center work with districts and states, we have run into a number of instances of the NWEA MAP being used untested grades and subjects to fill in gap years between NCLB-mandated tests. This approach is particularly appealing in districts engaged in teacher and or school incentive projects. The ability to include more teachers in grade-to-grade growth models is appealing across the board. Administrators like the equity and external validation of external measures. Many educators like the respect given to tested subject and prefer not to have their performance measured by walk throughs or other observational measures only.

On the other hand, there is still great deal of research being done on the validity and reliability of growth models based on computer adaptive tests (over 2300 hits). Student under an adaptive test regime do not take the same form of the test. Much of the science around understanding growth rely on students taking the same form of a test. However, when one looks at the working being done on VA use of adaptive tests on gets 4 hits.

We are hoping to be able to work with one or more districts using the MAP to see how well this works in practice. We are also looking a districts using quarterly diagnostic assessment to predict performance on the annual high stakes. Likewise, we are likely to work with one or more districts who want to use the PLAN-ACT series of tests for measuring high school productivity.

There is certainly plenty of work to do.


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