Teachers have long known that students don’t always give their best effort when they take a test. A lack of student test engagement can negatively impact scores and misrepresent a student’s abilities. When we try make decisions with this flawed information, it can be problematic for the students as well as for school and district leaders. Conversely, when students are motivated to perform on tests, they tend to do better.
That’s why NWEA takes a holistic approach to improve student test engagement. It begins with making educators aware of the issue and its impact on student and school performance. We also developed new features to measure and report incidents of rapid-guessing while students take the test, so teachers and proctors have a chance to address the issue in the moment. And while our smarter test design minimizes the impact of disengagement on student scores, we also updated our test guidance with recommendations on when to re-test students if the impact of low-engagement is too large to overcome.
With this multipronged approach in mind, we are introducing new capabilities within MAP® Growth™ focused on preventing and mitigating rapid guessing.
Starting this month for fall testing:
- when students rapid guess, proctors are immediately notified. The test will auto-pause up to three times, allowing proctors to actively re-engage students before this behavior impacts their score.
- a new report will be available to help districts identify students who completed tests and reached the rapid guessing threshold (rapid guessed excessively on 30 percent or more of the total questions).
- proctors will be able to easily generate a list of students who completed tests and reached the rapid-guessing threshold, and they can create a test session from that list.
On the leading edge of this research is Dr. Steven Wise, Senior Research Fellow in the Collaborative for Student Growth at NWEA. It’s an understatement to say that Steve is an expert on test-taking engagement, the psychology of test taking, and adaptive testing. Steve also has written 18 book chapters, had over 70 of his articles published in peer-reviewed journals, shared his work in more than 125 invited addresses and presentations at professional meetings, and his work has been cited by over 3,500 other educational researchers. Earlier this summer, Steve delivered a keynote presentation at the International Association for Computerized Adaptative Testing conference, the premier event in the adaptive testing world.
For more information on the impact of proctor notification when students disengage, check out the research from read this research brief from Steve Wise, Megan Kuhfeld, and Jim Soland.