CBAL: Cognitively Based Assessment of, for, and as Learning

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CBAL: Cognitively Based Assessment of, for, and as Learning

CBAL, an acronym for Cognitively Based Assessment of, for, and as Learning, is a research initiative intended to create a model for an innovative primary-and-secondary-school assessment system that provides summative information for policy makers, as well as formative information for classroom instructional purposes. This paper describes the major design characteristics underlying CBAL assessment prototypes and summarizes results from almost 10,000 summative pilot administrations. The major design characteristics include (1) taking a systems perspective, (2) grounding development in the results of learning-sciences research, (3) incorporating innovative, computer-delivered tasks, (4) explicitly modeling good teaching and learning practice, and (5) employing distributed summative assessment. Pilot results to date suggest that CBAL summative assessments function well on average. Even so, operating characteristics have varied widely from one form to the next, suggesting that we may not yet be able to produce innovative test forms of this type in a replicable manner.

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