The Advantage of Computer Adaptive Testing
One of the great challenges in assessment is choosing the best test question at the right time for each student. Every student taking a test approaches it at their unique level of skill and learning. Frustration with above level questions, boredom with easily answered questions, and the inability to really see where a student is can be frustrating for both student and teacher.
That’s why Track My Progress has been designed as a computer adaptive test, quickly adapting and adjusting test questions to the real-time learning zone of each student. Students who perform above grade level will receive more challenging questions as they complete an assessment, allowing teachers to accurately see how much additional challenge that student needs. Similarly, students performing below grade level will receive less difficult questions as they progress, allowing teachers to pinpoint their exact comfort level before planning intervention.
How Does Computer Adaptive Testing Work?
A computer adaptive test (CAT) is designed to accurately measure a student’s current ability level, not necessarily their knowledge on a predefined scope of content. For this reason, every student can receive a different sequence of questions, while still ensuring accurate, comparable, and actionable test scores.
The first time your students take a computer adaptive test, the test will select an easy question from their grade level. When the student responds correctly, the test will provide a slightly more difficult question. When the student replies incorrectly, the test will provide a slightly easier item. Because of the nature of these adaptations, it takes significantly fewer questions to accurately assess a student’s achievement level and provide valuable feedback to their teacher.
The Benefits of Computer Adaptive Testing
When a student takes a static assessment that uses a predefined set of test questions, many of the questions will be too hard or too easy for most students. This means they spend time answering questions that both you and they know are too hard or too easy for them. This is not a good use of their time and does not provide useful information for you.
Advanced students may get all or nearly all the questions right. Struggling students may not get any of the questions right. In both cases the final scores cannot be accurate and few insights are generated.
Computer adaptive testing goes beyond static test scripts, ensuring each student can be assessed and responded to based on their learning zone. At the same time, by catering test questions to the performance of each student, it improves the test taking process. It means:
- Tests are paced at an individual level, reducing text anxiety.
- Fewer test questions resulting in a shorter test.
- Reduced boredom for students performing above grade level.
- Reduced frustration for students performing below grade level.
- Teachers see relevant, actionable feedback based on meaningful questions answered by their students.
Computer adaptive testing represents the most accurate and direct way to measure a student’s progress at the individual level. Even better, it allows educators to create custom intervention plans that guide students to greater success.
To learn more about computer adaptive testing, how it can benefit your students, and how Track My Progress uses this technology to test and track student performance, contact us today to get a tour of the software.
With this approach, you can have more specific, targeted, and insightful conversations with students' parents and your peers alike. If you're ready to learn more about Track My Progress and how it can help to improve assessment performance, start your trial or contact us today: