Education

Adaptive Tests Could Answer NCLB Accountability Problems

October 29, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The next version to NCLB will almost certainly use growth models to measure adequate yearly progress. The idea is in the House’s discussion draft and just about every set of recommendations to improve the law (see here, here, and here).

A new report out today suggests the law should allow new forms of assessing students, too.

The report from a Delaware-based group says that NCLB should let states use computer-adaptive tests instead of grade-level tests, which are usually given with pencil and paper.

Grade-level tests, the groups says, are unable to measure progress of students who start the year either far below or far above grade level. Students at the lower end of the spectrum are going to fail a 4th grade test, even if their academic standing improves from 1st grade level to 3rd grade level. Similarly, high-achieving 4th graders will ace their tests, even if their achievement level didn’t increase during the year.

The solution is computer adaptive tests, the reports says. The adaptive tests pull from a bank of test questions with a wide range of difficulty. The computer adjusts the difficulty of the questions it poses based on the students’ performance on previous questions. If the student is answering questions at grade level, it gradually increases the difficulty. If he or she is struggling at grade level, the computer decreases the rigor of the questions to identify where the student performs.

In a pilot project, the Delaware group found that the adaptive tests did a better job identifying students’ academic growth than grade-level tests. If the tests were used to determine schools’ AYP standing, twice as many high-poverty schools would have met their AYP goals in the 2006-07 school year, the report predicts.

Computer-adaptive testing hasn’t been discussed in the reauthorization debate so far. With this report, it might be. In anticipation of the report, Reps. David Wu, D-Ore., and Tom Petri, R-Wis., last week introduced a bill to allow states to use adaptive testing instead of grade-level testing last week. Both are members of the House Education and Labor Committee. Rep. Petri is the Republican member with the most seniority on the panel.

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Education Insights with Actionable Data to Create More Personalized Engagement
The world has changed during this time of pandemic learning, and there is a new challenge faced in education regarding how we effectively utilize the data now available to educators and leaders. In this session
Content provided by Microsoft
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Accelerate Learning with Project-Based Learning
Earlier this year, the George Lucas Educational Foundation released four new studies highlighting how project-based learning (PBL) helps accelerate student learning—across age groups, multiple disciplines, and different socio-economic statuses. With this year’s emphasis on unfinished
Content provided by SmartLab Learning
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. If we

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education California Makes Ethnic Studies a High School Requirement
California is among the first in the nation to require students to take a course in ethnic studies to get a diploma starting in 2029-30.
4 min read
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Democratic Assembly members, from left, James Ramos, Chris Holden Jose Medina, and Rudy Salas, Jr., right, huddle during an Assembly session in Sacramento, Calif. Medina's bill to make ethnic studies a high school requirement was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Education California Requires Free Menstrual Products in Public Schools
The move comes as women’s rights advocates push nationwide for affordable access to pads, tampons, and other items.
1 min read
Tammy Compton restocks tampons at Compton's Market, in Sacramento, Calif., on June 22, 2016. California public schools and colleges must stock their restrooms with free menstrual products under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
Tammy Compton restocks tampons at Compton's Market, in Sacramento, Calif., on June 22, 2016. California public schools and colleges must stock their restrooms with free menstrual products under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP
Education Florida to Dock School District Salaries for Requiring Masks
Florida is set to dock salaries and withhold funding from local school districts that defied Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban on mask mandates.
2 min read
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Education More Than 120,000 U.S. Kids Had Caregivers Die During Pandemic
The toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans, a new study suggests.
3 min read
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 file photo, a funeral director arranges flowers on a casket before a service in Tampa, Fla. According to a study published Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, by the medical journal Pediatrics, the number of U.S. children orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic may be larger than previously estimated, and the toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)