Report on the Overseas Assessment Trend -Computer Based Testing(CBT)-

 We visited the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey, and attended the conference and exposition hosted by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE 2010) in Denver, Colorado, from June 25th to July 2nd, 2010. This is a report on two topics regarding Computer Based Testing (CBT).

 The first topic is about CBAL (Cognitively Based Assessment of, for, and as Learning). At ISTE 2010, there was a presentation on this subject by an ETS researcher in the session on “Moving Online Assessment Forward Using an Open Source Technology Platform”. This is an assessment for multifaceted education with the objective of guaranteeing the quality of PreK-12 education. It serves three aspects of assessment: documenting what students have achieved (“of learning”); helping identify how to plan and adjust instruction (“for learning”); and being considered by students and teachers to be a worthwhile educational experience in and of itself (“as learning”). 

 CBAL provides class tasks, content of activities, reference materials, and diagnostic tests on computers. For example, 7th grade CBAL mathematics includes tasks called “cartooning” and “mix it up”. The former involves drawing cartoons by understanding the ratios of body parts. The latter involves mixing red and blue paint on a computer screen to get purple paint. It teaches how the ratio of red to blue affects the color of the paint.

 The preliminary research on a summative assessment of CBAL reading, writing, and mathematics has been conducted in schools in 17 states for 7th and 8th graders since 2010. A formative assessment has been tested at public schools in Portland, Maine, since 2007. The outcome of preliminary research will tell us if CBAL has the potential to replace the standard test in each state. 

 The second topic is NAEP on CBT. CBT will be introduced for the first time to writing in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in 2011, according to an ETS researcher. It will require writing using word processors as well as including audio and video content enabled by CBT. The WRITING FRAMEWORK for the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (Pre-Publication Edition) sets three communicative purposes for writing; 1. to persuade, 2. to explain, and 3. to convey experience, real or imagined. Each has its own respective grading criteria and is based on six ranges of scores. You can refer to Appendix B of the WRITING FRAMEWORK to read the example tasks. 

 When the personal computer was first introduced to tests, and was used alongside pencils and papers, changes became apparent. What is the future mode of testing in Japan? We can observe the leading steps being made in the US and develop an insight into the positive and negative aspects of each step. We hope to create the right environment, conducive to the tools that children use to learn.

 In the U.S., the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) started in 1969. 4th, 8th, and 12th graders participate in the survey using random sampling. The objective of the assessment is to identify the group trend, not individual achievements. The subjects covered are mathematics, reading, science, writing, art, citizenship, economics, geography, and American history. The survey is not done annually involving all grades taking tests for all subjects. Basically, as the NAEP schedule indicates, assessments of mathematics, reading and science take place in odd-numbered years, and in even-numbered years, other subjects (one, two or three subjects, depending on the year) are covered.

(Chie Hoshi, CRET Researcher)


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Areas of Reasearch in CRET

This laboratory conducts research on test evaluation and analysis. We also perform joint research and exchange programs with overseas testing research institutes.

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This laboratory conducts research and development into testing approaches that measure communication skills, teamwork skills, and social skills, etc.

Dr. Atsushi Aikawa

Faculty of Human Sciences,
University of Tsukuba
Ph.D. in Psychology

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This laboratory conducts research on the foundation of computer-based testing, and basic research on media and recognition, as well as applied and practical research
that utilize such knowledge.

Dr. Kanji Akahori

Professor Emeritus of
Tokyo Institute of

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for the laboratory