Transitioning to Online Testing
Lack of technology and infrastructure within the schools is the biggest barrier to developing and implementing the innovative assessment systems. How do states know if what they have is sufficient for what they will need to deliver online assessments in the future?
Over the last 10 years, Pearson has worked with a number of states as they transitioned from paper-based to online testing. Virginia was one of the first to make the transition and more recently Texas conducted a feasibility study, with the help of Pearson, to roadmap their move to online assessment. Learn more about Texas’ online readiness plan in "An Evaluation of Districts' Readiness for Online Testing".
As states transition to online testing, Pearson will continue to support paper-based testing fulfillment and processing needs. We provide packaging and distribution and receiving and scanning services for a number of state and national assessment programs including for: the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) domestically, and the American Diploma Project (ADP) Algebra I and II End-of-Course Exams.
Assessments Capture Broader Types of Student Performance
Next generation assessments can be designed and developed to capture broader types of student performance and enable us to measure higher order thinking skills, critical thinking, writing and the application of knowledge to solve problems—without losing the benefits of lower-cost delivery and scoring and timelier return of information.
For example, Pearson is working with several states to develop and deliver Flash and XML-based interactive, open-ended problems and innovative items, which use using artificial intelligence software or computer scoring to automatically evaluate and score the assessments and provide immediate feedback.
Interactive items developed for next generation assessments might include:
- Math content that may previously have been assessed using multiple-choice, can be made interactive to allow students to graph a formula, interact with three dimensional objects, or demonstrate categorization—tasks that more closely resemble student learning and real-life applications.
- Questions requiring a written or constructed response can present a word processor interface to allow students to respond in an environment that more closely reflects real world situations.
- Multi-media elements can be included as stimuli so that the test content is richer and more relevant.
Online platforms can be used to administer performance tasks over an extended time, whereby students identify and read relevant research materials and compose essays based on what they read.
Technology Makes Assessments More Accessible and Inclusive
The use of technology makes assessments more accessible and more inclusive:
- Test content can be enabled with software-based accommodations, such as tools to assist the visually impaired, to significantly increase the number of students who can access the content and to decrease construct-irrelevant barriers facing these students.
- English language learners can be provided augmented content that more accurately assesses their genuine linguistic abilities.
Universal design can direct the use of technology to develop tests that are usable, accessible, and accurate for a broad range of students, including those with disabilities and English language learners.
- Pearson, through a partnership with the Center for Applied Special Technologies (CAST), examines how principles of Universal Design can enhance computer-based testing, making items more accessible for all students and particularly for students with disabilities, in the paper “Universal Design for Computer-Based Testing Guidelines.”
Leveraging Computer-Based and Computer-Adaptive Testing Models
Pearson has experience in developing both computer-based testing and computer-adaptive testing and administered over 9 million online assessments last year.
Technology enables assessment to evolve from the static world of paper-based test questions toward more innovative and comprehensive online assessments.