Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT)
A core feature of Smarter Balanced assessments is that they are customized for each student for a more accurate measurement for every student. To accomplish this, the computer-based test adjusts the difficulty of questions throughout the assessment based on the student’s response. If a student answers a question correctly, the next question will be harder; if a student answers incorrectly, the next question will be easier. This system is called computer adaptive testing, and it is part of the summative (end-of-year) assessments.
- 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 score. The assessments draw from a large bank of questions, and because students receive different questions based on their responses, test questions 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 growth over time.
- Faster Results: 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 individual needs of their students.
Technology for Learning
Smarter Balanced sponsors the development of innovative open-source technology to improve both the testing experience and the ability to measure students’ skills. Employing new technologies allows us to:
- Accurately and efficiently measure student achievement and growth through computer adaptive testing;
- Develop real-world test items that assess the breadth of the Common Core State Standards for virtually all students, including those with disabilities and English language learners;
- Enhance professional development and capacity building for teachers and administrators at the local level; and
- Leverage members’ resources to deliver assessments and produce reports that are cost-effective and timely, as well as useful for teachers, students, and parents to track progress towards college- and career-readiness.
We have developed an open-source platform for delivering assessments. Details about this software and how it may be used to benefit other organizations are available at SmarterApp.org.
Guide To Technology ReadinessThis guide is intended to help school leaders better understand, plan for, and manage the technology necessary for successful administration of Smarter Balanced assessments.
Download the Guide