INDIANAPOLIS—Today Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Superintendent of Public Instruction, asked the Indiana State Senate Education and Career Development Committee to consider the computer adaptive testing approach to evaluate students.
“For many years, instructional methods have significantly changed and improved, yet, our state-mandated assessments have not,” said Dr. McCormick. “Indiana's K-12 schools, families, employers, and institutions of higher education are rightfully calling for a change in student performance and growth measures that better reflect our students. To truly prepare our students for their future endeavors, we must create individualized instruction based on need.”
McCormick explained that educators must have the most up-to-date testing tools that provide timely, valid data on student performance and growth.
“Indiana’s future must include computer adaptive testing for grades 3-8 and national readiness measures, such as PSAT and SAT, for high school,” McCormick advocated. “With augmentation, these can dramatically cut testing times as well as costs.”
In the current educational landscape, assessment usually reflects two types of assessment designs, fixed form and computer adaptive. Fixed form allows every test taker to receive the same questions, which is the model of Indiana's current ISTEP+ test and End of Course Assessments. A computer adaptive model allows flexibility for test takers to receive challenge leveled questions adjusted based upon students' individual responses and tested skill-level.
The test-taking itself is only one part of the assessment process. Reading, understanding, and responding to student, school, and district assessment results should culminate in targeted curricular and instructional changes and improvements focused on student success. With the individualized results received from a computer adaptive test, educators are able to differentiate instruction to address each student's needs, providing all students the opportunity for growth.
McCormick is targeting 2019 to roll out the new assessment. “Though this means one more year of programs like ISTEP+, it gives us enough time to ensure we get this right,” she shared.