The Centre is currently working on the development of a computer-based testing platform, and the rollout of new and existing tests in computer-based format. Two key components are completed – the test authoring portal (how new tests are created within the system) and test delivery portal (what students see when they take a test). The school administrator and test administrator portals are also almost complete, and will be followed by the development of an integrated payment system for test purchases.
The new cloud-based system will support the requirement in the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy in relation to digital testing and/or a test of digital literacy, meet demand from teachers, and improve the test-taker experience. Specific to concerns raised about reporting requirements outlined in the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy, it significantly reduces opportunity to teach to the test, or even to practice the test. Secure delivery of multiple test forms, all drawing from a large standardised bank of items, addresses concerns about teacher and student familiarity with content.
Other benefits include:
- increased flexibility in updating tests.
- reduced workload for teachers, as all tests are scored within the system.
- immediate generation of test results
- the possibility of developing adaptive tests, which can provide more accurate estimates of ability and assess a broader range of ability levels.
- potential adaptation for students with additional needs (e.g., visual impairments).
- the ability to vary the test content presented to students, thus reducing opportunity to copy.
As part of the system development, four tests have been piloted (a revised and expanded version of the Drumcondra Reasoning Test, and Standardised Tests of Reading, Mathematics, and Science for Second Year students). Standardisation of the DRT and reading and mathematics tests will be completed in 2016 and tests will be available for sale before the end of 2016.