Thinking back to our last standardized paper exam experiences, some common themes we might find are ridiculously long testing hours, way too many questions that seemed to ask the same things with different wordings, cramped wrists, and having to wait weeks to know how well we did. Rocketing into the tech-savvy age we live in, it makes almost no sense to keep relying on these painful and inefficient paper testing methods.
Adaptive testing, often called Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT), is a more efficient method of testing that provides better results in a fraction of the time. Feeding test-takers selected questions from large question banks, adaptive tests are created on the fly for every test-taker, be it an academic of a professional setting—classroom or job application. With that in mind, how exactly does adaptive testing produce these better results? What are the benefits?
Testing anxiety is a very real problem, and having a single, standard version of a test only accentuates the effects of anxiety. In general, reading over a test and seeing questions that they can’t answer or don’t understand can affect test-takers’ performances greatly, and discourage test-takers from continuing on with the test to the best of their abilities. Gauging test-taker ability and knowledge on a subject shouldn’t depend on how much they’ve practiced taking tests.
Adaptive testing solves this problem by tailoring tests based on test-takers’ answers. Correct answers cue more difficult questions, and incorrect answers cue less difficult questions. Grading then isn’t based on a questions right over questions wrong ratio, rather by gauging other pre-established criteria. This promotes more accurate results for every test-taker. Individuals that deal better with the complicated questions can continue doing so, and individuals that struggle with these more complicated questions receive a custom test that won’t discourage them, allowing them to still test accurately.
The ability to tailor individual tests on the fly also allows for the ability to create more Culturally Relevant and Culturally Responsive testing.
Computerized testing and pre-programmed criteria form a match made in heaven when it comes to efficiency. Results are available immediately after testing is finished, which is a better situation for everyone.
In an HR context, potential hires can be evaluated and compared much more quickly, which gets employees hired more quickly and gets people into jobs with less stress and time waiting. In a school context, students don’t have to wait weeks or even months to receive results that can be crucial to their next academic steps, and educators don’t have to wait these equally long periods of time to respond to results and implement changes appropriately. Quicker feedback makes for better progress on all levels.
For a variety of reasons, it’s often an important point to make sure that all students or test-takers complete their evaluation during the same time period. Should a student take a test on an earlier date, they might pass on the content or answers to their classmates. Likewise, should a student take a test at a later date, their classmates could potentially “help them out.”
The only fairly fail-safe way of having different students test at different times without having to rely on students’ moral codes to not pass on test content is to write up entirely different tests that all measure the same mastery over the same content. Having to hand-write a new test every time one or two students can’t show up at the same time as the other students is time-consuming and tiring, but failing a student because their insurance or lack thereof not being able to afford a dentist with more comfortable scheduling isn’t the fairest course of action, either.
Adaptive testing solves this issue, too. Should a student need to take a test at a different time or on a different date, they’ll receive a different exam than the rest of the students who, non-coincidentally, all took completely different tests from one another anyway. Health and wellness emergencies no longer loom as academic landmines, and educators are spared the tiring labor that goes with retesting.
Altogether, adaptive testing provides a quicker, less stressful, and more accurate means of evaluation that is more convenient for everyone involved. At AdaptiveX, we are the experts in adaptive testing and have the technology to help you and your organization succeed in implementing them. Contact us today for a free demo.