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Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Eduacational Assessment
Three themes underlie this chapter’s exploration of how information technologies can advance the design of assessments, based on a merging of the cognitive and measurement advances reviewed in Part II.
Technology is providing new tools that can help make components of assessment design and implementation more efficient, timely, and sophisticated. We focus on advances that are helping designers forge stronger connections among the three elements of the assessment triangle set forth in Chapter 2. For instance, technology offers opportunities to strengthen the cognition-observation linkage by enabling the design of situations that assess a broader range of cognitive processes than was previously possible, including knowledge-organization and problem-solving processes that are difficult to assess using traditional, paper-and-pencil assessment methods.
Technology offers opportunities to strengthen the cognitive coherence among assessment, curriculum, and instruction. Some programs have been developed to infuse ongoing formative assessment into portions of the current mathematics and science curriculum. Other projects illustrate how technology fundamentally changes what is taught and how it is taught. Exciting new technology-based learning environments now being designed provide complete integration of curriculum, instruction, and assessment aimed at the development of new and complex skills and knowledge.
The chapter concludes with a possible future scenario in which cognitive research, advances in measurement, and technology combine to spur a radical shift in the kinds of assessments used to assist learning, measure student attainment, evaluate programs, and promote accountability.