Access to Assessment via Technology Research Project

  • Kearns, Jacqueline (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Largely due to the pressure created by the adequate yearly progress (AYP) provision of the 2002No ChildLeft Behind Act, many states are now looking toward technology to provide a means for assessing students quickly and affordably (Bennett, 2002; Bushweller, 2000; Hamilton et aI., 2000; Trotter, 2002). At last count, at least 12 states (FL, GA, ID, IN, KY, MN, NC, OR, PA, SD, UT, VA) are actively investigating the feasibility of converting paper-and-pencil-based tests into computer-based tests (John Olson, CCSSO, personal communication June, 2002). However, in doing so most states are proceeding cautiously for fear that changes in test format potentially can invalidate test reliability.and trend data. As a result, rather than utilizing technology as a means for creating a better assessment, most states are merely using it as a means for saving time and money. In fact, in many cases technology may be creating barriers for some students by preventing them from using assistive technologies or by testing them on their computer skills rather than on the constructs intended by the test creators (Trotter, 2002). The unfortunate outcome of most states' rush toward technology is that many of the more pedagogically-sound virtues of technology are being overlooked. These advantages include improved ability to test cognitive constructs, better matching of classroom and assessment tools, increased potential for use of assessment results to inform subsequent instruction, and increased accessibility for students with disabilities and limited English proficiency (Bennett, 2001; Chung & Baker, 1997; Dolan & Rose, 2000; Mislevy et aI., 2001; Ruiz-Primo et aI., 1997; Russell, 2000). Among these, the ability to provide a fairer and more inclusive test through technology is the most compelling given the Federal requirement that states demonstrate AyP for students with disabilities. This investigation proposed by the University of Kentucky and CAST will describe the implementation of Kentucky's technology-based accessible assessment proto-type, verify accessibility for the widest range of users, compare student assessment results among user and non-user schools and students, and compare the student results in schools that implemented universal design for learning during instruction with schools that did not implement UDL for instruction. Using this information, we plan to replicate the design for Maine. Maine has had extensive experience in utilizing the principles of UDL in the design of curriculum, but to date, has not implemented UDL for statewide assessments. Multiple methodologies will be used in the investigation including interviews, focus groups, document analysis, surveys, participant observation and data analysis to address seven research questions. The results will be reported for each state as a part of an embedded case-study design. Then a cross-case analysis will be conducted to identify common themes, distinct differences, and summary results in the two states.
Effective start/end date10/1/029/30/06


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