Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Better tests, better learning

| Post by Cory Curl |

Prichard Committee members have long taken great interest in tracking the Commonwealth's educational progress on key measures, including the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), or "The Nation's Report Card". NAEP provides results in reading and mathematics for 4th and 8th grade students at the national and state levels (as well as for large cities such as Louisville) every two years. (It also provides less frequent information on a variety of other subjects such as science, civics, and the arts.)

We were expecting a new round of NAEP reading and mathematics results this fall, but the public release has been postponed until March or April. It turns out that in 2017, for the first time, most students took a digital version of the NAEP test on tablets instead of a paper version with the traditional #2 pencil.

According to the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), the agency that oversees the test, "the digital environment allows for innovative ways to tap students’ knowledge and skills. For instance, a reading passage is presented with vivid illustrations and a means to refer back to the text when answering questions. On the mathematics assessment, a calculator embedded on the screen appears when requested by the student and is hidden when not needed to avoid unnecessary distraction when working on items that may require calculator use."

Given this digital transition, NAGB is taking more time to analyze the results to make sure they can still be compared to past years to track progress.

This transition also has us thinking about what's ahead for tests in Kentucky classrooms.

As schools slide into winter break this week, we'll explore what's new and what's around the corner for students, their families and communities, according to five major purposes:

  • Learning
  • Informing
  • Clarifying
  • Benchmarking
  • Measuring

  • Please join us!

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    Updates and data on Kentucky education!