NWEA Adaptive Testing
A critical component of the new assessment system is Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT), a method of administering tests that adapt to the examinee’s academic achievement level in a subject area. As students taking the exam miss a question, the next question presented will be simpler, and conversely, when a student performs well on an item of intermediate difficulty, the next question will be more difficult. The computer draws from a large pool of questions so that eventually the student’s instructional level for the academic subject is identified. From the examinee’s perspective, the difficulty of the exam tailors itself to the student’s achievement level. Computer-adaptive tests require fewer test items to arrive at equally accurate scores than traditional assessments using multiple-choice questions.
Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) provide research-based assessments to improve student learning and teaching. Computer adaptive tests are aligned with Utah’s state content standards in order to measure student achievement and growth. Tests provide tailored reports to give educators information to guide decisions and tools for educators to make easy use of assessment results. Four million students, which are about 10 percent of the United States student population, take the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress assessments each year. Currently, there are more than 3,400 NWEA partner schools, districts, and agencies in all 50 states and 41 countries. (Note: NWEA information in this section has been adapted from the NWEA web page – www.NWEA.org)
The NWEA assessments are being used in place of the state end-of-level criterion referenced tests (CRT) for reading, language arts, mathematics, and science. Reports for Sevier District’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) will look different from other districts in Utah. Sevier District’s pilot reports show student growth over a four year time period, as well as proficiency (grade level status). This correlation is based on an alignment study with NWEA scores and Utah CRT proficiency levels. Brief explanations on tables and graphs show school and district level achievement and growth.
Student Growth Charts by Cohort Groups
Sevier School district has recently compiled graphs based on NWEA MAP results, which track historical trend data for cohorts of students broken out by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) identified subgroups including ethnicity. District administrators and principals, for the first time, can track growth data for the same cohort of student's end-of-level data from the prior year against a different group of students in that same grade level to determine adequate early progress (AYP) under NCLB. A continuous progress growth model combined with proficiency of the grade level standards provides a much more accurate and meaningful picture on how well teachers and the school are meeting student needs.
The breakout of this cohort data by subgroups allows an at-a-glance overview of whether or not subgroup achievement gaps are being closed, and how steep the learning trajectory or trend line is for each subgroup. This data, along with individual classroom and student data, further helps educational staff make accurate instructional decisions concerning the efficacy of their interventions, including diagnosis and differentiation. It may also prove helpful in identifying possible cultural bias and in targeting necessary instructional change.
Teachers are now aware of the annual yearly growth of individual students and cohort groups. Targeted instruction at each student's instructional level is not only provided for those who struggle but also for accelerated students.
Yearly growth is calculated from fall to spring MAP assessments. District-wide averages were calculated by grade level, using the growth index scores (number of points each student grew could be positive or negative). These averages were used to calculate school growth index averages and place them within national percentile tables. The proportion of students in each grade who were successful in meeting or exceeding their growth index targets were also placed within percentile tables.
Based on NWEA national data, setting a goal of having 50 percent of students meet or exceed typical growth is a recommended target. This growth is equivalent to the 50th percentile or exceeding the growth of 50 percent of the schools in NWEA schools in the growth index study. Based on tables form the 2009 NWEA Growth Index Research Study (updated May, 2010), national percentile ranks for growth are calculated for each pilot district, school, and grade level in each reported subject tested, except science.
The reports also show projected proficiency levels by grade level for each school. The data is calculated from an alignment study of NWEA's Blended II assessment and the Utah CRT's for the 2008-09 cut scores.
2012 - Reports
2011 - Reports
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