April 22, 2024

Assessment Innovation in K–12 Levels the Playing Field for Students

Author: eli.zimmerman_9856
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Assessment Innovation in K–12 Levels the Playing Field for Students
Fri, 09/27/2019 – 16:26

As we roll further into the information age and our use of technology continues to evolve, so too does our ability to assess students.

Educators consistently share that assessments need to closely mirror classroom instruction and real-life situations students may encounter. Assessments should measure students’ knowledge and skills and not focus on recalling facts in isolation. 

More important, assessments need to inform instruction in a timely fashion — so much so that even the scheduling of tests needs to be considered. 

For example, tests could be offered when a student is ready to demonstrate mastery of a skill or concept rather than during a specific window of time at the end of a school year

These assessment changes are possible because of technology. The paper-pencil test is a relic; adaptive tests are the future. Innovations in technology are providing solutions that make assessments more engaging, accessible, timely and reliable.

It’s all about personalization, and technology is key to allowing the content and timing of tests to be geared toward individual students. Thanks to their adaptive nature, computer-based tests can adjust to offer a true measure of knowledge and ability. 

As a student progresses through a test, questions conform to assess the ability level of the student and provide the educator with more in-depth analysis of where the student is on their path toward proficiency. 

Developments in gaming technology provide the resources and innovation for computer-based tests. 

The use of this approach has shown promising results; for instance, a number of school districts in Georgia are exploring the use of games to support teaching early-grade math concepts, such as place value and the use of tables and graphs. 

Data collected at the individual and class level measure mastery of these concepts.

MORE FROM EDTECH: See how technology is helping K–12 schools design summative and formative assessments.

Boost Engagement During Testing with Technology

Northwest Evaluation Association is researching the effects of disengagement during test taking and its impact on accurately measuring achievement. Technology has a role to play in maintaining high engagement during a test, or alerting the test giver when engagement drops and evaluating the effect of disengagement on overall scores.

Developments in artificial intelligence are providing useful applications for assessment. 

Mike Nesterak

Mike Nesterak is the senior director of the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Product Innovation Center. He has more than 30 years of experience in the educational assessment industry and has been involved in the development of numerous assessments.