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Forecast Student PSSA Results with Over 70% Accuracy

Jan 26, 2016

While Increasing the Number of Students that Score Proficient or Advanced

The 2015 PSSA tests presented new challenges. Students faced unfamiliar question types, such as Text Dependent Analysis, and more difficult reading passages. Teachers were not sure if students were properly prepared. No one knew exactly what to expect, well, almost no one.

We don’t have a future-telling crystal ball. No one prognosticates with 100% accuracy. But, in a 2,000 student study across multiple school districts, OnHand Schools (OHS) was able to predict with greater than 70% accuracy whether each student would score above the new PSSA cut score.

PSSA prediction accuracy - Math 71%, Reading 78%

In the Fall of 2015, a former PDE Bureau Director and psychometrician, analyzed scores, comparing the PSSAs and OHS assessments. A cut score was set for the OHS assessments equivalent to the PSSA cut scores. The results confirmed that approximately 78% of the OHS predictions for proficiency were correct in Reading, and approximately 71% were correct in Mathematics.

We were pleased with the results. We were even more pleased that our Benchmark Assessments could be used to predict success and drive students towards greater achievement.

Here’s how it was done.

Multiple Assessments

The EdInsight Assessment Module of our Instructional Management System software, comes with 3 assessments for Reading and Mathematics for each grade from 3rd through 8th grades. The Reading assessments progressively increase in rigor, with the third assessment providing Benchmark Assessment reliability. Math assessments are benchmark accurate for all three tests. With the OHS Benchmark Assessments, teachers can match the challenges of the rigor associated with the new 2015 PSSAs.

Written and Aligned to Eligible Content

Our Reading/ELA and Mathematics assessments align to core standards, anchors and eligible content. Assessment items were constructed by Reading and Math teachers, trained in quality assessment development. We built each assessment using assessment blueprints and structured them to model the format in the new state assessment protocol.

Once written, each item was analyzed and reviewed by content specialists to ensure the item addressed the identified core standards, anchors or eligible content. Every assessment item was examined to confirm that it reflected appropriate Depth of Knowledge levels defined in Webb’s Cognitive Complexity Model and specific levels in Bloom’s taxonomy.

The assessment creation process was exhaustive, but it produced reliable, rigorous and appropriate practice assessments.

Question Types Reflecting PSSAs

Creating well written, cognitively appropriate tests was not enough. To create accuracy within the assessments, question types needed to reflect those on the PSSAs.

Reading passages within the OHS assessments mirror those leveled at the Common Core recommended level, as do the question types. Our assessments accurately predict results using multiple choice questions, evidence-based selected response questions and text dependent analysis questions. With text dependent analysis questions, students in grades 4 through 8 are required to analyze more than one piece of text. Both the rigor and question types mimic the PSSAs.

Mathematics assessments were also designed and built to emulate the blueprint of the state assessment. Students faced questions based on new core standards, anchors and eligible content in both multiple choice and open-ended forms. Questions were verified to ensure appropriate reading level in order to limit reading level interference.

Benchmark Assessments that Fit Easily in Your Calendar

You don’t have an extra week to take practice assessments. You have curriculum that needs covered. We get that and have built our assessments to meet that reality.

We built our assessments to be taken in one class period. Let that sink in, a Benchmark Assessment with greater than 70% accuracy completed in one class period.

Results are evaluated just as quickly. Students take our assessments by computer or on bubble sheets. Reports are available within EdInsight as results are entered. The pre-built reports deliver actionable information showing each student’s active knowledge level on specific core standards, anchors and eligible content.

With the assessment taken, the results of the multiple choice questions can be available to you within one instructional period. No time is wasted. You can receive an accurate picture of where students stand and get back to what you do best, teach.

Assessment Results Guide Instruction

EdInsight reports provide critical information to guide instruction and differentiate learning based on areas of remediation. With high accuracy, teachers know which students require further instruction on which standards.

As Marc Benioff, author, philanthropist and CEO of Salesforce.com, famously stated, “You must always be able to predict what’s next and then have the flexibility to evolve.”

OHS’s Benchmark Assessments allow for just that, the ability to predict results with the flexibility to advance student achievement.



Tags: PSSA, Testing
Category: explanatory

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