Update: Education Week has an article on the challenges of upgrading technology for “next generation assessments.”
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has released sample items for both the English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics assessments. The “view more sample items” drop down menu displays the grade bands and claim being assessed in each sample item, as well as allowing the viewer to filter the items, for example, to display only those that are technology-enhanced. The “item score” and “about this item” drop down text box provide information about scoring.
A Quick Recap:
– Iowa Assessments Smarter Balanced (times are estimated)
Grades Core Complete Short Long
3 4h30min 5h40min 6h30min 10h30min
4-5 3h45min 4h55min 6h30min 10h30min
6-8 3h45min 4h55min 7h 11h
HS 2h35min 3h55min 8h 13h
Iowa Assessments: $3.50 per student
Smarter Balanced (summative assessment only): $19.81 per student
Smarter Balanced (with optional interim assessment): $27.31 per student
Initial Thoughts and Some Questions:
I am warming up to the format used on the Mathematics assessment for the Expressions and Equations questions 1 and 2, although it seems like this question format could easily be used on a regular bubble answer sheet style standardized exam.
I am not convinced that computer testing is a huge advance over the paper booklet type (keeping in mind results may still take weeks to be returned). For example, I don’t think that the animated swimmers or the need to click a button to move water from one tank to another adds much to the mathematics questions (although I see on the second time through that a different amount of water moved).
I do wonder about all of the questions that are “not currently scored automatically.” How does that affect the computer adaptive feature of the test? If they aim to have real-time human scoring of these questions, will they be able to keep up when thousands of students are taking the test at the same time? What happens if they can’t?
When the results are reduced to numbers on a score report, how much more value will these numbers have over the ones administrators, teachers, and parents already get from the Iowa Assessments? Are the questions really getting at something significantly different and more valuable than current Iowa Assessment questions?
If you have checked out the sample items, what do you think? Are they an improvement over current Iowa Assessment questions? Are they worth the added expense of time and money to administer?
HT: Dir. Jason Glass on the release of sample items.
HT: Matt Townsley on the Iowa Assessment working times.