Test Designers Seek Help of Students, One at a Time
Pondering a math problem while she swings her sneakered feet from a chair, 12-year-old Andrea Guevara is helping researchers design an assessment that will shape the learning of 19 million students.
The 8th grader, who came to the United States from Ecuador three years ago, is trying out two ways of providing English-language support on a computer-based test. First, she does a few problems that display Spanish translations of the English instructions. Then she tries a few written only in English, but with pop-up windows that open on the screen and show translations of unfamiliar words.
Three researchers watch Andrea closely. They note which words she clicks on to activate the “pop-up glossary.” They watch how she responds to the bilingual instructions. Since Andrea has been encouraged to think aloud while she’s solving the problems, researchers hear as well as see how the features of the different test items...
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