Monday, April 21, 2014

New Design for ATI Comprehensive Benchmark Assessments Series

ATI is offering two different assessment series for Common Core State Standards for 2014-15. One version will assess the same set of standards outlined in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) end-of-year blueprints.  The other version will assess the same set of standards outlined in the Smarter Balanced end-of-year blueprints. Each set of assessments will consist of five tests including a pretest, three benchmark assessments, and a posttest. These tests will all assess the same set of standards. Districts may choose to use all of or any combination of these five tests to chart growth and Common Core State Standards mastery throughout 2014-15.

Instructional effectiveness (IE) versions of the pretests and posttests are also available. ATI recommends that districts and charters implementing instructional effectiveness initiatives with the goal of assessing student growth over the entire year use the instructional effectiveness pretests and posttests. If desired, school districts and charters may automatically pull the results of ATI’s Categorical Growth Analyses evaluating student growth from an IE Pretest to an IE Posttest directly into ATI’s score compiler. This enables districts and charters to easily combine student growth data, teacher observation or rating scale data, and other data required for teacher performance classification into a staff score compiler.

All ATI assessments are designed to maximize reliability and provide the most precise estimates of student ability and growth. In support of this goal, the majority of items included on ATI assessments have a successful history of performance and established Item Response Theory (IRT) item parameters (i.e., discrimination, difficulty, and guessing). In order to accurately assess students of all abilities, ATI assessments typically include items with a range of difficulties. Pretests and IE pretests represent a special case since these assessments are typically administered prior to students receiving instruction related to the assessed standards. For pretests and IE pretests, ATI intentionally selects easier items that are more appropriate for the students’ current level of performance and will provide the most accurate estimates of their current ability. In the past, easier items were sometimes drawn from prior-grade-level content; however, in 2014-15, all items, including easier items, will be drawn from current-grade-level content.

Karyn White, M.A., Educational Management Services Director

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