CBAL: Results From Piloting Innovative K–12 Assessments

Bennett, Randy Elliott
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computer-based assessment, performance assessment, innovative testing approaches


CBAL, an acronym for Cognitively Based Assessment of, for, and as Learning, is a research initiative intended to create a model for an innovative K–12 assessment system that provides summative information for policy makers, as well as formative information for classroom instructional purposes. This paper summarizes empirical results from 16 CBAL summative assessment pilots involving almost 10,000 online administrations conducted between 2007 and 2010. The results suggest that, on average, the CBAL initiative was successful in building innovative assessments in reading, writing, and mathematics that worked as intended. However, there was considerable variation in the functioning of test forms, especially in writing and math. That variation might suggest that the knowledge needed to produce high-quality forms of these innovative tests in a replicable and scalable manner is not yet at hand. Further, although the results described offer a significant start, many critical questions must be answered before CBAL assessments (or ones like them) are ready for high-stakes operational use.

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