Researchers, testing services, and teachers are exploring a wide-range of alternatives to conventional multiple choice assessment. We're compiling a list of some of the most promising projects. Criteria for selection include a focus on the use of assessments as a way for teachers to learn what students are most likely to benefit from learning next.
The BEAR (Berkeley Evaluation and Assessment Research Center) program at Berkeley California has been working with teachers, researchers, and test developers to create embedded assessments that are scored by teachers with carefully crafted scoring rubrics. Projects include ASK (Assessing Science Knowledge), FADS (The Formative Assessment Delivery System), and PADI (Principled Assessment Designs for Inquiry).
The Disco Initiative delivers free online assessments that focus on how well students think about what they are learning. DiscoTests are based on rigorous research into how students learn particular concepts from pre-kindergarten through the high school years. They are designed to be instruments of learning as well as assessments, and are scored with intuitive low-inference rubrics that can be used by teachers and students. DiscoTest scores are presented as levels on a developmental continuum that Dr. Kurt Fischer of Harvard calls the dynamic skill scale. Reports provide targeted learning suggestions that are based on these scores.
The Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology (IQWST; pronounced I-quest) project develops curricula that are designed to enable teachers with diverse knowledge and experiences to teach science effectively to students with a variety of backgrounds and strengths. The curricula developed in this lab include embedded assessments that are designed to help teachers determine what students understand.
Do you know of a testing alternative that isn't in our list?
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