- Transitioning assessment systems
With the movement for the creation of next-generation assessments to better measure student learning and college- and career-readiness standards, increasing attention is paid to the use of technology in assessment. This session will include recent research and development work focusing on technology-enhanced assessments for various skill areas with diverse students. The specific topics include: using iPads to assess English language proficiency for English learners (ELs), using gaming in assessment for young children (physics learning), and assessing 21st century skills using technology.
The first presentation will focus on a study that examined how English learners interacted with English language assessment tasks delivered on an iPad. The presenters will first describe design principles for developing innovative tasks to adequately measure English language proficiency on iPads and demonstrate a few sample tasks. Some principles and technology-enhanced characteristics include increasing student engagement by using scenario-based tasks and carefully-designed scaffolding tasks, computer-specific features (e.g., touch-screen, dragging), game-like features (e.g., earning stamps for the completions of tasks), multiple trials, and immediate feedback for some selected tasks. The trial study was conducted with over 200 EL and non-EL students in Grades K-5. Of those, a small sample participated in a cognitive lab study. In this symposium session, the presenters will report the findings of the trial and cognitive lab studies. They will also discuss the issues to consider in using iPads to assess EL students’ English language proficiency.
The second presentation will focus on designing games and assessments for young children’s physics learning. In typical physics puzzler-games, learning occurs inductively through implicit acquisition of concepts. In contrast, the presenters have developed a set of physics puzzler-games targeting young children (Grades K-2), using two strategies to improve learning and promote transfer. First, both the games and assessments use iconography and nonverbal animations to direct attention to the physics principles governing object behavior in the game and as guidance for task objectives. This design choice was both practical (i.e., reduce reading and writing demands) and theoretical (i.e., make explicit connections between the elements and physics concepts). The “syntax” of icons were introduced as a way of illustrating and labeling the concepts. Second, viewing games as formative assessment environments, key events were identified as potential triggers for adaptivity within gameplay (i.e., tailored instructional support). Results from empirical studies examining the effectiveness of the pedagogical strategies and the quality of the assessments will be presented.
The third presentation will focus on the use of technologies to measure 21st century skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity (the so-called 4Cs). A school district’s assistant superintendent will describe a very successful program that puts the 4Cs and their rubrics into action. He will share his vision for implementing this digital assessment to measure the 4Cs and create an ideal electronic environment in school settings. In particular, he will discuss how these new digital problem solving processes will fulfill the goal of being useful for learning and aslearning in addition to offering an assessment of learning.