Computer-Based Assessment: Can It Deliver on Its Promise Knowledge Brief.Report as inadecuate

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Computer-based assessment appears to offer the promise of radically improving both how assessments are implemented and the quality of the information they can deliver. However, as many states consider whether to embrace this new technology, serious concerns remain about the fairness of the new systems and the readiness of states (and districts and schools) to support them. This brief describes the potential advantages of a fully implemented computer-based assessment system and then lays out questions states must address as they consider the next generation of high-stakes assessments. Computer-based assessments promise to make obsolete many of the shortcomings of current high-stakes, statewide assessment systems and to expand the capacity of such systems to measure rigorous standards in truly innovative ways. They offer answers to the usual concerns about current assessments with regard to logistics, content/methodologies, and value. Standing in the way of computer-based assessments are other logistical problems, such as the need for back-up machines and materials, delivery of materials and training of test administrators, and scheduling. Security is a problem in computer-based testing as it is in conventional testing. Test equivalence and computer equivalence must be considered, and the largest hurdle to realizing the promise of computer-based assessment is access. Moving ahead without addressing the issues raised in this brief will almost certainly result in flawed assessments. (SLD)

Descriptors: Adaptive Testing, Computer Assisted Testing, Educational Technology, Educational Testing, Elementary Secondary Education, Testing Problems

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Author: Rabinowitz, Stanley; Brandt, Tamara


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