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Adapting the Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4) to support decision making, teaching and learning in Chinese schools
GL Assessment’s Cognitive Abilities Tests (4th edition) (CAT4) is taken by thousands of children every year to provide an understanding of student potential. It identifies their strengths, weaknesses and thinking preferences, providing accurate and reliable information for teaching and learning. Schools are provided with automatically generated reports that offer detailed ‘learner profiles’, helping teachers to shape their teaching for each student, making informed decisions about how to support their students in the classroom. The theme of this year’s IAEA conference focuses on Assessment and Decision making across individual and institutional solutions. It is therefore timely to present our study (GL Assessment, 2018) showing the findings of the nationwide trial of a Chinese version of CAT4 in China including a standardisation of 15,000 students, and how we aim to encourage the use of CAT4 for improved educational outcomes. Individualised or personalised learning is still a relatively new concept for teachers in many Chinese schools and China has started moving away from passive and rote learning style to a more “active, problem-solving learning style to improve students’ overall abilities to process information, acquire knowledge, solve problems and learn cooperatively” (OECD 2016). To make the test culturally and linguistically suitable for Chinese students, the test needed to be translated and adapted, replacing and amending existing items. For those interested in adapting and translating tests into other languages and contexts, this paper will also detail some of the issues and barriers encountered in developing a digital assessment in China. A study of this size focusing on reasoning abilities will be of interest to test researchers and educationalists who would like to understand more about the use of ability tests in school age children in China – a key assessment for decision making at individual and institutional level.
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