NIFL-ASSESSMENT 2005: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1015] Re: Use of test sc

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From: bonniesophia@adelphia.net
Date: Wed Mar 23 2005 - 13:28:09 EST


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From: "bonniesophia@adelphia.net" <bonniesophia@adelphia.net>
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Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1015] Re: Use of test scores
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I found that when I was both assessing and teaching in ABE/ESL, I'd have to
do my own skills breakdowns of CASAS test items and tasks. Teaching the
tasks (not just the content, the "right" answer) is also a plus. If
curriculum was competency based I could use the CASAS and its curriculum
matrix, but it wasn't always reflective of the students' needs. I would do
the charting that would allow me to see if an entire group of students, or
just selected ones, had trouble on particular test items, and give students
the lists of competencies tested and which ones they had trouble with.
Best regards,
Bonnie Odiorne, Ph.D.
English Language Institute, Writing Center
Post University, Waterbury, CT

Original Message:
-----------------
From: Condelli, Larry LCondelli@air.org
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 11:41:26 -0500 (EST)
To: nifl-assessment@literacy.nifl.gov
Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1014] Re: Use of test scores


Katrina,

I think your experiences reflect what most teachers feel about NRS
assessments.  We don't have very many assessment instruments in adult
education that meet the rigorous psychometric requirements of the NRS,
and the ones we do use (TABE, CASAS, BEST, etc.) have to be used
sometimes for broad purposes. They do meet accountability requirements
and offer some information about student performance, but they are often
inadequate for informing instruction.  We do recommend the use of other
assessments for instructional and other purposes, although we run the
risk of too much assessment on students if we go too far.  Limited time
is also a factor.

Marie has suggested the use of performance assessments for this purpose.
Such assessments can also be standardized and used in the NRS (the BEST
Plus is an example) but it is very difficult to do all of the research
and development work.  However, many programs use performance
assessments or curriculum-based assessments to supplement the
information from NRS tests.

-----Original Message-----
From: nifl-assessment@nifl.gov [mailto:nifl-assessment@nifl.gov] On
Behalf Of Katrina Hinson
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2005 8:27 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1013] Re: Use of test scores

In response to Larry's questions forwarded by Marie:

Do teachers/program staff have access to test scores?  
We do have access to them. They are given to us when a new student
arrives. Additionally, instructors are responsible for monitoring when
post tests are needed and ensuring that the students are post tested .

Do they use them?
How?  If not, why not?  How are they useful -- do they help instruction?
I can't speak for everyone in my program. I will say I use them - but
only as a guideline. I learned a long time ago that the placement test
scores did little to really tell me what a student knew or didn't know. 
I explain to my students that the placement test scores are just that, a
means by which to place a student in the appropriate classes to ensure
their success.  They are not at all useful in terms of instruction and I
think they give students a false sense of security.  I have students
that come in and assume b/c they tested at a 9.something level that they
should be able to just take the GED and I have to explain to them why
that's not neccessarily true. Then I give a student my own pre tests to
see where they are in terms of being able to pass the GED  often, they
come back and admit they're not as ready as they thought. I then have to
answer the question "How come I did so well on the placement tests but
not on the pre tests you gave?" 


What are the shortcomings?  What could be done at the state/federal
levels to help programs use test scores?  For example what kinds of
analysis/assistance might be helpful?

The shortcomings are that the placement tests are not as broad reaching
as say the GED tests. It is by no means a fair leap to assume that
simply b/c you place at the GED High level according to the TABE that
you're automatically ready to take the GED. That simply isn't so but
students get so caught up in the "placement" level that it sometimes
creates the "I already know that" barrier. 

For example, of the list of assessments that can be used for the NRS
(and I don't have that in front of me so I don't know them all off
hand), what do you get out of the TABE, BEST Plus, CASAS, for
example?The NRS certainly uses that data - but can you or do you?  How
and what for?  Does it inform your teaching and your classroom?

I use it as a guideline, sort of a baseline to see where a student MIGHT
be...but that's it. I have students who come in at the GED Intermediate
or High level and yet when I give them the a pre test to determine where
their level is in relation to the GED,  they are no where near ready -
often missing more than 50% of a 50 question test. Additionally, when
asked during a personal interview with the student, when they left
traditional school and find out they left in 7th grade I find myself
asking how they scored at a 9th grade level or even higher in some
cases, especially if they have not been previously enrolled in a basic
skills class. 

I think the placement and test scores are guidelines but not something
that can replace one on one interviewing and assessment done between the
teacher and student.  I also don't think they are used the same by all
teachers. 

Katrina

>>> marie.cora@hotspurpartners.com 03/22/05 10:24 AM >>>
Hi everyone,
 
Larry posed some really good questions I think.  I often wonder if
people/programs use data for program improvement (and how), so the
variation below on that theme is particularly interesting for me:
 
Do teachers/program staff have access to test scores?  Do they use them?
How?  If not, why not?  How are they useful -- do they help instruction?
What are the shortcomings?  What could be done at the state/federal
levels to help programs use test scores?  For example what kinds of
analysis/assistance might be helpful?
 
For example, of the list of assessments that can be used for the NRS
(and I don't have that in front of me so I don't know them all off
hand), what do you get out of the TABE, BEST Plus, CASAS, for example?
The NRS certainly uses that data - but can you or do you?  How and what
for?  Does it inform your teaching and your classroom?
 
Has anyone developed performance assessments that are being used now for
the NRS?  Intuitively I feel like that type of assessment would be
readily used by teachers, but that it is less accessible for the NRS.
Larry, can you or anyone comment on this?
 
Thanks,
marie
 
marie cora
Moderator, NIFL Assessment Discussion List, and Coordinator/Developer
LINCS Assessment Special Collection at
http://literacy.kent.edu/Midwest/assessment/
 
 
 
marie.cora@hotspurpartners.com
 
 




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