FocusEduVation's Blog

February 2, 2010

Improving Assessment Design

Filed under: High Stakes Assessment — Focus EduVation @ 1:26 pm

There are two major issues in assessment that will dominate discussion of e-learning, those of provision of meaningful interaction and feedback, and issues of verification of identity.

Conventional essay-based assessment techniques are applicable to e-learning with tutors providing written comment and feedback on student performance and these may well form the backbone of summative assessment schemes.

However the interactive capabilities of ICT systems can be exploited to improve the provision of formative assessment exercises.  The majority of e-learning delivery systems will provide authors with a range of options for the presentation of multiple choice questions. The value to students of these systems can be significantly improved by careful design of the remedial teaching provided in the feedback responses to MCQs.

Assessment design should be aligned to the style of course hence within a programme a diversity of assessment techniques will be encountered.  Assessors should satisfy themselves that curriculum designers address the aggregation of the cumulative evidence on student performance gained through all modes of assessment.

Curriculum designers must consider how best to address the sensitive issue of assuring the identity of students following e-learning programmes. They should be guided by institutional policy but must themselves have confidence in their systems and be in a position to defend them to academic and professional peers (also to assessment and accreditation panels).

Examinations under controlled conditions are regarded as the benchmark for verification of candidate identity and performance.  However, curriculum designers should be able to demonstrate that every effort is made to relate examination performance with the aggregate profile of student performance gained through other forms of summative assessment.


August 8, 2009

Challenges In Test Preparation Programs

Filed under: High Stakes Assessment — Focus EduVation @ 12:57 pm

testTest Preparation Programs for K-12 and higher education could be a challenging task with the re-enforced NCLB law.  Testing is becoming a regular part of education for K-12 grade students. Whether it is placement tests, progress assessment tests, college entrance tests or high school exit tests, students endure their fair share of testing. With more schools incorporating high school exit tests into their educational experience, making sure students have mastered the necessary high school curriculum has new meaning.

Test preparation practices on state achievement tests is why scores on state tests have gone up dramatically under No Child Left Behind, while scores on non-targeted tests (like the National Assessment of Educational Progress) and lots of other educational outcomes (like college readiness) have declined.

There is a lot of debate about consequences of test preparation for achievement :

  • Formalizing a performance assessment for these test is a growing challenge
  • Another research shows that, assessment works best for students when it is integrated with instruction and is a part of learning support, as in formative assessment
  • Standardizing these tests based on grade level appropriateness
  • Preparation of these test items has to be very generic and measure academic performance only

Teachers are also at risk for elevated stress levels due to the NCLB Act which links tests scores to teacher performance. Eliminating the risks to prepare unbiased test items is the key challenge

July 15, 2009

Building High Stakes Assessment System Support For Successful Learners – An Introduction

Filed under: High Stakes Assessment — Focus EduVation @ 7:01 am

advncdHigh Stakes which a term was used for high-rolling gambling game is now a common phrase in education. The idea of High Stakes Assessment is purely to have a authentic assessment conducted to know the student’s achievement and thereby improve instruction.

With the advent of the No Child Left Behind federal legislation, the demand for high stakes testing has surfaced and is mandated to check a student’s progress from one grade to a higher. The pros of High Stakes Assessments are evident and have been widely adopted by states and districts. High Stakes testing has a neutral standard for assessing the effects of state policies

High Stakes Research by National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) suggests that the tests are suitable for the middle graders (ages 9 -13). Also, assessing middle graders is felt important by the legislation as their progress for the future grades can be charted well. Assessing high stakes between states is also adopted wide as the comparison is obvious to know the appropriateness of the assessments among students.

There is a lot of debate over High Stakes testing among schools, states and districts as it is noticed that the complexity of the tests can de-motivate students and they may not be able to perform well in their regular tests. It is also shown that “Just 23 percent of states posted gains on NAEP higher than the national average after high stakes were introduced”

However, High Stakes Assessment adoption is necessary and in response to it publishers, schools and states have been refining the assessments to make it authentic and fairer, so as to measure a student’s academic ability only.

Focus EduVation conducts High Stakes Assessments and help standardize the test in its most efficient way to measure a child’s performance. We deliver the NCLB-required high stakes testing including test development, scoring, processing and reporting.

About Focus EduVation: Focus EduVation based just outside of Boston, MA and are an Education Management company. Focus EduVAtion is in the space of writing Items for formative assessments, standards alignment, Media development, test scoring, grading services and curriculum design. Including writing lesson plans with differentiated instruction, PowerPoint Lessons (for in-class use) for the teachers and guided practice and application activities for the students.

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