Monday, February 25, 2013

Cumulative Tests

Educational testing has increased dramatically in recent years. Both the number of student assessments and the types of assessments provided for students have grown extensively. These changes have produced significant challenges for the testing industry and for schools implementing assessments. In the past, test development was a slow process controlled in the main by test developers. Today, rapid ongoing test development driven by continually changing educator needs is the norm. The result is an accumulation of tests comprised of many closely related assessments administered to many groups of students at many different times. 

The demands associated with the construction of high quality assessments in the current educational environment are significant. In many cases the number of students taking a test is too small to support adequate psychometric analyses. Test length is also a major issue. Tests that take longer than one class period to administer pose a scheduling challenge for schools. Yet, tests administered in one class period often do not provide the degree of measurement precision that can be obtained from a longer assessment. In addition, short tests typically provide only limited coverage of the underlying ability that the test is designed to measure. For some time now, ATI has been working on a new cumulative approach to test development, test scoring, test analysis, and test reporting. 

A cumulative test is typically thought of as test that covers the full range of content in a course of study. Aside from the range of content covered, a cumulative test is like any other test. That is, it is one test given to a group of examinees at one time. The cumulative construct being addressed by ATI expands the definition of a cumulative test. A Cumulative Test, as it is conceptualized in this is typically comprised of many tests, administered in many sessions to many groups of examinees on many occasions across an extended time period. A Cumulative Test is assumed to measure a single latent ability. However, sets of items on the test may also reflect specific factors in addition to that ability. In the limiting case, a Cumulative Test will include two tests administered in two sessions to two groups of examinees on two occasions. A given examinee can be expected to respond to some number of test items, but not all of the items comprising the test. To qualify as an examinee, an individual must respond to at least one item on the test.

The introduction of Cumulative Tests into educational assessment produces many potential benefits.  A Cumulative Test makes it possible to use all of the available data for parameter estimation. The responses of all students responding to a given item can be considered in estimating parameters for that item. Cumulative Tests provide an increasing amount of data as time passes. Thus, the precision of estimates of ability improves as students respond to an increasing number of items. A Cumulative Test provides massive amounts of information that can be used to guide instruction when a large number of items are included in the assessment. A Cumulative Test has the potential to improve forecasting accuracy because it facilitates the use of all of the available data in making the forecast.  Cumulative Tests support the measurement of growth from customized assessments aligned with district curricula because they provide extremely broad coverage of the knowledge and skills to be acquired through instruction. 

Given the many advantages of the cumulative assessment paradigm, it is reasonable to expect that the use of Cumulative Tests will expand in the years ahead. The availability of technology in schools is likely to play an important role in that expansion. As technology availability increases, assessments providing information to guide instruction can be expected to become an integral part of the instructional process. As this increase occurs, Cumulative Tests, which are designed to guide instruction, can be expected to take their place as a new and useful assessment tool uniquely positioned to serve changing educational needs that have emerged as the world has entered the information age. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Intervention Group Activities Page

Intervention Groups are a popular feature in Galileo K-12 Online used to group students who share a common trait or demographic, but who are not enrolled in the same class (or classes).  An example use would be to group all English Language Learner students in a particular grade for special testing purposes. 

Intervention Groups can then be used for class-like events such as scheduling tests, quizzes, and Instructional Dialogs.  A new feature in Galileo K-12 Online allows you to work more easily with Intervention Groups by allowing you to see all scheduled events.  To use this feature, just go to the Intervention Groups page (Setup -> School Info -> Intervention Groups) and then click the “Intervention Group Scheduled Events” link at right:

Once an Intervention Group and Library are selected, all activities in that library will be displayed in one simple screen:

For more information on Intervention Group features, please speak to your field services coordinator or refer to the Galileo K-12 Online Professional Development Forum. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

K-12 Live Webinar: Integrating Technology and Teaching Strategies to Develop Common Core Curricula

Hosted by Assessment Technology Incorporated
Date: February 26, 2013
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. MST
This webinar is complimentary.

Common Core State Standards are more than a new set of standards. They promote a fundamentally different view regarding the goals of curriculum and instructional strategies, the nature of assessment, and the relationship between instruction and assessment. In keeping with the Common Core State Standards' (CCSS) approach to education, ATI has developed new dialogic technology, new assessment technology, and new community initiatives to build and share instructional materials that not only reflect core standards, but also exemplify teaching practices designed to increase student depth of knowledge to promote college and career readiness.

This webinar will:
  • Explain the nature of curricular change needed to align instruction to the CCSS and prepare students for PARCC and SBAC assessments.
  • Outline the development of a collaborative community to build and share curriculum content and to ensure effective student performance on CCSS and PARCC/SBAC measures. 
  • Demonstrate ATI dialogic technology supporting common core community initiatives to build, adapt, organize, share, and deliver online interactive instructional content reflecting common core goals and teaching strategies. 
  • Present template instructional strategies, units, lessons and activities to support the transition of instruction to meet CCSS requirements.
  • Describe ATI resource materials and professional development opportunities to assist educators in the transition to CCSS.
Scott Cunningham, Assessment and Instructional Design Director, ATI

Scott Cunningham received his B.S. in Education from the University of Nebraska and has held teaching certifications in Nebraska, Minnesota, and Arizona. Mr. Cunningham joined ATI in 2002 and draws on his years of experience in the classroom developing interactive, academically challenging lessons and assessments in his current role of supervising the design of item specifications and models for instructional content for consistent measurement of Common Core State Standards. Mr. Cunningham also trains and supervises a team of ATI content specialists in the creation of instructional and assessment content aligned to the Common Core State Standards. As part of ATI's collaborative Community Assessment Item Bank, Mr. Cunningham has served with our Professional Development department to engage teachers from all subject areas in the methods and skills necessary to the development of assessment content that measures effectiveness in instruction. Additionally, he is leading the team that is developing ATI's innovative Instructional Dialogs, a model of interactive, technology-based instruction, which involves educators in developing and sharing proven educational strategies through lessons designed to increase student achievement.

Monday, February 4, 2013

New Video Highlighting Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum

The newest video created by the ATI Professional Development team highlights the uses of Galileo Pre-K Online Curriculum. The video offers teachers a way to learn about the features and technology in a step-by-step approach. The video can be viewed anywhere at any time. ATI offers a variety of ways to learn with supportive professional development offerings including a vast list of helpful videos offered in the Galileo Pre-K Online Professional Development Forum.

Upcoming from the Alliance for Excellent Education: The second annual national Digital Learning Day this Wednesday, February 6, 2013. This national campaign is designed to celebrate innovative teaching and highlight practices that make learning more personalized and engaging.