Leslie Gale's Blog

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Test Blueprints and Propositions – Tools for Planning Assessments October 23, 2012

Module 4 focused on creating test blueprints and propositions for selected response tests. I found these two test preparation activities were particularly unclear to me when they were first presented in the readings. Such structured mapping of test items was foreign to me as I tended to rely on the integrity of the assessments provided in the adopted curriculum or those passed on to teachers by our district. As I analyzed several of our district summative assessments for kindergarten, I have recently found that they often do not reflect the importance of each learning target (Chappuis, et al., 2012, p. 126) nor do they utilize the efficiency of selected response test items.

I have reviewed the Kindergarten summative assessment our district uses to evaluate the civics strand of our Social Studies Power Standards. All of the learning targets were knowledge targets. While test integrity prevents me from attaching the assessment to this post, I can report that I noticed several inadequacies. First, much of it uses the personal communication method of assessment. While I understand that personal communication is a strong match for knowledge targets (Chappuis, et al., 2012, p. 94), it is not always feasible to rely heavily on this method in kindergarten. Early primary students are not yet at a developmental stage that easily supports written communication. Personal communication usually has to occur in one on one conferences and takes a significant amount of class time. Secondly, there were no test items that used the selected response method. Chappuil, et al. (2012, p. 94) states that selected response test items are a good match for knowledge targets. This method is also more time efficient and allows for wide ranging content coverage, thereby obtaining an adequate sampling of student achievement. Selected response testing is also well suited to administer via ActivVotes. Teachers can use this hand held polling device to capture student responses as they enter them. Data is recorded and processed instantly. Lastly, the district assessment did not reflect the importance of some targets over others. It did not separate questions according to targets at all.

Having determined that the selected response method of testing would fit nicely with our Social Studies Civics assessment, I decided to create aTest Blueprint and List of Propositions for my Module 4 Artifact. Using the Lake Washington School District Civics Standards, I wrote learning targets and then created propositions that supported each target.  This planning allowed me to adequately account for each target and essential understanding as well as give extra weight to those targets that needed it.

Chappuis, J., Stiggins, R., Chappuis, S., & Arter, J. (2012). Classroom assessment for student learning: Doing it right, using it well. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.

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