Formative Assessment with Cognition in Mind: The Cognitively Based Assessment of, for and as Learning (CBALTM) Research Initiative at Educational Testing Service

Formative Assessment with Cognition in Mind: The Cognitively Based Assessment of, for and as Learning (CBALTM) Research Initiative at Educational Testing Service

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Formative Assessment with Cognition in Mind: The Cognitively Based Assessment of, for and as Learning (CBALTM) Research Initiative at Educational Testing Service

Traditional standardized educational tests often serve a summative purpose, reporting what students know after the learning phase has been completed. In this sense, they serve as an assessment of learning, with little or no implication for future instruction. By contrast, assessments may be used formatively, that is, they may be used to change the course of instruction as part of the assessment process. In the last 10-15 years, this form of assessment has seen a revival of interest in educational measurement. In this talk, I present different approaches to formative assessment, focusing on one specific formative system that is part of the Cognitively Based Assessment of, for and as Learning (CBAL™,) research initiative at Educational Testing Service (Bennett, 2010). The CBAL initiative includes both summative and formative assessment components, connected through a conceptual model that lays out what it means to be competent in a specific content domain. Competency models are developed based on research findings in the cognitive and learning sciences, thus serving as a bridge between educational measurement and theories of cognitive development. Assessment tasks are then created on the basis of these conceptual models. By using technology-enhanced tasks, such as simulations and interactive tasks, we can better diagnose student strengths and weaknesses and recommend further instructional steps (",assessment for learning",). Technology also allows us to embed tasks in realistic scenarios in which students can, for example, learn to connect targeted skills to conditions of use (",assessment as learning",, Bennett, 2010).

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