Computer-Based Assessment



Testing What Students in the Gap Can Do
Michael Russell & Lisa Famularo
21 pages
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New England Compact

Education Development Center (EDC)

Measured Progress

Center for Applied Special Technologies (CAST)

The New England Compact TMAS Project

Reaching the "Kids in the Gap" Through Web-Based Task Module Assessment Systems (TMAS), otherwise known as the TMAS project, was led by the New England Compact states (VT, ME, NH, and RI) and conducted in collaboration with four not-for-profit agencies: the Education Development Center (EDC), Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative (inTASC), Measured Progress, and the Center for Applied Special Technologies (CAST).

The two main goals were:

  1. For the students whose performance on the assessment is lower than was expected given the knowledge and skills they regularly exhibit in the classroom, the goal of the TMAS project is to design an assessment that will more accurately measure their knowledge and skills against grade-level content standards.

  2. For the students who are well below proficient, the goal of the TMAS project is to identify the factors associated with their low achievement and to determine what is needed to improve it.

This pilot study focused algebra grade level expectations measured by the New England Compact state tests. Specifically, the pilot test administered complex items used as part of the state assessment and which required students to apply multiple mathematics skills. A series of child items were developed for each complex item. The purposes of the child items were to isolate the component skills required for the complex item and, in some cases, to alter the way in which information was presented in order to make it more accessible for some students. As is detailed in the full report, the test was piloted with more than 2,000 students and revealed that changes in item design and isolating component skills did provide useful information about student achievement for students who were "in the gap".