Monday, November 14, 2016

ATI’s Item Writers Develop Numerous, High-Quality Items to Meet Your District Assessment Needs

Approximately 800 new high-quality items are added to Galileo item banks every month. This fete is accomplished by our experienced, in-house Assessment and Instructional Design team. The team of item development experts use ATI’s multi-stage process which is based in research and reflects industry best practices. The process takes into account principles of Universal Design and has been carefully designed to produce high-quality items including selected-response, technology enhanced, and constructed-response items as well as performance-based and project-based assessments. The item development process includes the development of item specifications, item construction, item review with certification, and field testing of items including empirical validation of item quality using Item Response Theory. 

ATI Multi-Stage Item Development Process
Stage 1: Item Specifications 
The first step in ATI item development is to review the standard and the component skill to be assessed. This skill is the starting point for developing an online list of item specifications defining the characteristics of a class of items to be written. Item specifications indicate the defining characteristics of the item class, the rationale for the class, and the required characteristics for each item component. Specifications might also address such factors as the cognitive complexity intended for items included in the specification class, the appropriateness of vocabulary, and Lexile® measure requirements related to readability levels. Item specifications may also be designed to align very closely to guidelines and released items from statewide assessments and assessment consortia (e.g., Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers [PARCC], Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium [SBAC]). The value of creating specifications as a guide for the item development process is recognized as a critical part of a process documenting that assessments are reliable and valid indicators of the ability they are intended to measure (Haladyna, 2004). Their structure and specificity also afford many advantages for ensuring that item specifications may be readily evaluated for purposes of mapping items to new or changed standards. 

Stage 2: Item Construction
After specifications have been written, items are constructed corresponding to the specifications using the online Bank Builder utility. Bank Builder includes features that promote item quality. For example, images constructed using Bank Builder conform to size and resolution standards that yield items that are visually suited to online and offline administration. Similarly, fonts available in Bank Builder are chosen to work across platforms, for readability both onscreen and in printed material. 

Stage 3: Item Review and Certification
The initial review process for item specifications, items, and item families occurs in-house and is composed of ATI review of the item specification, ATI review of the item (and passage/text if applicable), revision (if needed), and finally item certification. The item review process continues once a certified item is made available for use in an assessment. Items placed in district designed assessments are subjected to review by each member of the district’s review team during the test review process. The district may suggest item changes, if desired. The combination of a multi-material (specification, item, and item family) multi-step internal review accompanied by continuous external review by educators provides a rigorous approach to evaluation producing assessments that meet local needs and that are highly effective in forecasting and guiding instruction toward standards mastery.

Stage 4: Field Testing Items
ATI through Galileo supports multiple approaches to field testing items based on the specific goals for the field test. As one option, ATI through Galileo supports the development and administration of field test assessments including the desired field test items. As another option, Galileo supports the inclusion of new items on district assessments as soon as they are developed (i.e., within the same school year). This approach accommodates district needs related to the rapid development and delivery of new items in response to statewide assessment changes (e.g., deployment of new item types) and district feedback/requests (e.g., wording or formatting changes to more closely match instruction). Regardless of the approach, ATI can conduct IRT analyses to evaluate the characteristics of field tested items (e.g., discrimination, difficulty, pseudo guessing [where applicable]).

Access the Multi-Grade TE Items Sample for a look at some of the items that have made the cut. 

Schedule an overview to learn how Galileo can meet your specific district/charter assessment needs. 

Haladyna, T.M. (2004). Developing and validating multiple-choice test items. Mahwah, NJ. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

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