FY 2015


Alternate English Language Learning Assessment (ALTELLA)


This project will develop a English language proficiency (ELP) assessment for English learners (ELs) with the most significant cognitive disabilities to improve information about how ELs with significant cognitive disabilities are progressing toward English mastery to ensure their success in school and on the path to college, career, and community readiness. This project will apply the lessons learned from the past decade of research on assessing ELs and students with significant cognitive disabilities, as separate groups, to develop an ELP assessment based on alternate performance standards for ELs with significant cognitive disabilities—the Alternate English Language Learning Assessment (ALTELLA). ALTELLA will be based on current ELP standards and allow ELs with significant cognitive disabilities to demonstrate both receptive and expressive English language development. This project will establish a collaboration of States including Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, South Carolina, and West Virginia, to complete the foundational work needed for an evidence-centered design approach to the development of an ALTELLA. By the end of the project, participating states will have an evidence-centered design validity argument for the ALTELLA as well as item templates to use in the next phases of the alternate assessment development.


Development of Enhanced Career and College Readiness Indices for Smarter Balanced High School Assessments


The California Department of Education (CDE), in partnership with the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at UCLA, will fill a critical void in K-12 assessments by providing innovative indices that can support improved career readiness inferences based on the results of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) high school assessments. The outcomes of the proposed work will result in substantial added value of the current CDE high school assessments by using item factor models to create scores that include career readiness interpretations. This will create a new framework for understanding the Smarter Balanced assessment results that will inform reporting and interpretation statewide and across the Smarter Balanced member States. It will also create a new set of digital support resources. California will collect data from 1,325 high schools, two California community colleges, and the Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, RI.


Use of Learning Maps as an Organizing Structure for Formative Assessment


The Use of Learning Maps as an Organizing Structure for Formative Assessment project will investigate the use of organized learning models as the binding structure linking curriculum, instruction, and formative assessment. This project will develop learning maps with descriptions explaining the nodes and connections to help teachers plan instruction that is sensitive to cognitive development. For each learning map, the project will generate an instructional activity and teacher’s guide. The project will also produce performance tasks, rubrics, and objective item sets, for teachers to administer as formative assessments to generate the data they need to address individual learning needs. These materials will provide teachers the knowledge and tools they need to provide effective formative assessment and advance student learning. All materials will be made available in an intuitive web-based platform where teachers will explore learning maps and select materials for use with their students. During the final year of the project, up to 400 teachers will participate, providing evidence of scalability. Development activities will take place at the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) at the University of Kansas. Implementation activities will take place in the classrooms of teachers in five partner states: Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin.


Dynamic Interactive Formative Assessment Tasks and End-of-Unit Tests for Measuring Challenging Concepts and Skills of Diverse Middle School Students


Michigan will partner with Wisconsin, Maryland, New Jersey, and Nevada, and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, to develop an operational set of performance-based, technology-interactive, formative assessment tasks, end-of-unit assessment modules, and related teacher tools aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The goal of the project is to improve the assessment of challenging science learning for all middle-school students. The project will produce 12 technologically interactive, end-of-unit performance diagnostic assessments using 36 extended tasks and 35-40 additional classroom-embedded extended performance assessment tasks designed for on-demand use by the teacher. It will produce individualized diagnostic student- and classroom-level reports generated immediately after students complete the tasks and tests. The project will produce and evaluate materials and related professional development for teachers to support and inform task use, interpretation, and differentiated learning based on individualized results. The project will investigate the relationships between traditional and innovative item types that measure similar content and depth, particularly to identify ways to measure challenging science knowledge and abilities of widely diverse students, including English learners, students with learning disabilities, and mainstream students.


Data Informed Accessibility – Making Optimal Needs-based Decisions (DIAMOND)


The DIAMOND project is collaboration between Minnesota, Alabama, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the Virgin Islands and the National Center on Educational Outcomes. The project’s goal is to improve the validity of assessment results and interpretations for students with documented needs by developing guidelines for making informed decisions about accessibility features and accommodations. It will promote a decision-making process that moves beyond the use of a checklist approach (which often results in identifying tools and accommodations that do not provide access to the student), to an approach that relies on the use of classroom progress data and other measures charted over time to evaluate individual student needs. All students who require accessibility and accommodations supports – general education students with documented accessibility needs, students with disabilities, English language learners (ELs), ELs with disabilities – will be served by this project.