Based on student responses, the computer program adjusts the difficulty of questions throughout the assessment. For example, a student who answers a question correctly will receive a more challenging item, while an incorrect answer generates an easier question. By adapting to the student as the assessment is taking place, these assessments present an individually tailored set of questions to each student and can quickly identify which skills students have mastered. This approach represents a significant improvement over traditional paper-and-pencil assessments used in many states today, providing more accurate scores for all students across the full range of the achievement continuum.
- Better information for teachers: Optional computer adaptive interim assessments will provide a more detailed picture of where students excel or need additional support, helping teachers to differentiate instruction. The interim assessments will be reported on the same scale as the summative assessment, and schools will have the flexibility to assess small elements of content or the full breadth of the Common Core State Standards at locally-determined times throughout the year.
- More efficient and more secure: Computer adaptive tests are typically shorter than paper-and-pencil assessments because fewer questions are required to accurately determine each student’s achievement level. The assessments draw from a large bank of questions, and since students receive different questions based on their responses, test items are more secure and can be used for a longer period of time.
- More accurate: CAT offers teachers and schools a more accurate way to evaluate student achievement, readiness for college and careers, and to measure growth over time.
Computerized assessments allow teachers, principals, and parents to receive results in weeks, not months. Faster results mean that teachers can use the information from optional interim assessments throughout the school year to differentiate instruction and better meet the unique needs of their students.
For More Information
- Watch the Computer Adaptive Testing webinar
- Visit the Technology page
- Download the CAT Factsheet (PDF) (DocX) *Please note, this document has been made available in Microsoft Word format to facilitate use with screen readers and other assistive technologies. Please do not modify this document. The Portable Document Format (PDF) version that is also posted displays fonts and images in a consistent manner across devices and is the recommended version for most purposes.