Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Common core and computer adaptive testing.

The common core update happened today at our school, with the kindly old lady telling us how much the scores are going to rise when we raise the reading level and the difficulty level of all the questions. (Yeah, I know, but let's play along.)

She described the computer adaptive questions and how the program would be able to deliver a different next question based on whether the student got the previous one right.  I'm good with that concept, actually.  With a suitable scoring system (like the one for Olympic divers), it should work out quite well. 

Then we got to the "performance tasks" which were much more extensive, taking 2 hours each for high school students to complete. The students will be responding with text, handwritten (onto a tablet - the goal is for 25% of tests to be taken on tablet), voice over documents, video, and anything else the test creators could dream up.

Here's the kicker.

None of this is past alpha development stage. The iPad apps are still in development. The Android apps, laptop programs, desktop programs, Mac, PC, ... all were still in development. Everything is computer-based but they can't figure out how to block the student from getting on Google. They don't know how the schools will supply themselves with all the tech ... "When I was Commissioner in Maine, I just put it in the budget. We're talking to your state about it."

The math framework and examples will be ready ... in a few months.  The digital clearinghouse ... maybe by June 2013. The funding for technology ... "we're working on that".  The assessment engine ... that'll be ready soon.  The suitable scoring system I mentioned earlier ... "I'm not sure exactly how that'll work".

I point out that the questions they're displaying are problematic, but her response was to remind me that the exemplars had been posted for some time and teachers had been able to make comments. Oh, my bad.

Not inspiring confidence, here.

She put up a reading example about a science topic that was similarly flawed - if you knew the science already, you'd have a huge advantage and your "reading score" would be much higher. Fair enough, you might say, but the elementary teachers in the auditorium didn't know most of the words either.  "Turbidity", for example.

8th grade - they'll guess and check.
I'm not sure how that's supposed to
measure algebra, though.
Scoring will be a pain, too.  Questions like this one will be scored by ... someone. This will be a source for error right there.  Portfolios had this problem, too.  You'd think it would be easy to get all the scorers to come up with a consistent grade since they all had a page-long rubric to follow.  You might think that, but you'd be wrong.

I love education.

1 comment:

  1. I feel your pain.

    In Georgia, we are getting assaulted on two sides: Common Core and the legislature. (http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/06/11/private-school-tax-credit-cheating-georgia-and-its-children/)