Tag Archives: assessment-in-flux

How Can Multiple Choice Be a Good Choice?

assessments_120x105Assessment in Education #3 … an ongoing series on assessment

Have you ever wondered where multiple-choice testing originated? See this Edutopia blog for a snapshot of the history of multiple choice. Over the years multiple-choice tests have been criticized, yet they are still given today.

Why? Because multiple-choice questions have several advantages:

  • inexpensive and fast to score
  • diagnostic for misconceptions and common errors
  • readily used in adaptive learning environments

[Creative Commons  2.0, Admissions360 ]

Dumbed Down?

Many people feel that multiple-choice questions are oversimplified and do not reflect the shades of gray students are likely to encounter in the workplace. Yet K–12 multiple-choice assessments in English Language Arts (ELA), for example, are an excellent means of rapidly assessing higher-order thinking skills. In a well crafted item, students can be asked to:

  • determine an author’s point of view or purpose
  • identify an argument or claim and the relevant supporting evidence
  • determine the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary words through context clues
  • recognize a theme or central idea and analyze how it is developed through details in a text

Let’s take a closer look at what makes a good multiple-choice item in ELA.

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Reconsidering K–12 Assessment Formats

assessments_120x105Assessment in Education #2 … an ongoing series on assessment

What do we mean when we talk about assessments in education? Testing can provoke a lot of anxiety for students, parents, and teachers alike, so a close consideration of the goals of assessment is essential.

As we discussed last week, the billion-dollar assessment market is in flux. While this situation creates uncertainty, it also affords test makers, school systems, and other stakeholders a valuable opportunity to rethink the goals and the design of assessments. As a result, in the future we may see more models for assessments rooted in new educational philosophies. Although no assessment format is perfect, a few key models seem to endure.

Formative Assessments

Formative assessments offer instant information about a student’s educational progress. The goal of a formative assessment isn’t usually to gauge the efficacy of a teacher or a school, but rather to shed light on where students stand within a particular lesson, unit, or course. Think of these as the “present tense” of assessment: a snapshot of a student’s learning. Continue reading

9 Key Indicators to Watch in Assessment

assessments_120x105Assessment in Education #1an ongoing series on assessment

359572656_51a00dc2a6 (1)[Creative Commons  2.0, ccarlstead ]

The assessment market is a billion-dollar business. However, the market is in flux and no one can predict what will happen. Here are 9 key indicators to watch in 2017:

1. Uncertainty over the new administration’s educational policies
  • On the campaign trail, the president said that CCSS had to go and implied that states should control education policy. These two quotes give some indication of what might happen:

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