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Types of Assessment Assignment Trina Kelsey EDU-722 Special Education Assessment in Inclusion Settings September 23, 2012 University

y of New England

Types of Assessment Teacher-Made Tests of Achievement and the WIAT III The assessment of a students academic achievement is typically evaluated using teacher-made tests in the classroom, but occasionally standardized testing such as the WIAT III is needed to provide a norm-reference snapshot of a students strengths and weaknesses compared to others of the same age. Students academic achievement in the core areas is tested in an ongoing manner in the classroom through teacher-made assessments that evaluate knowledge in the areas of reading, writing and math. Teachers convey lessons according to the criteria set out by the Ministry of Education, and then they assess what has been learned. This is in contrast to the WIAT III which has been constructed to have general applicability so that they can be used with students in almost any curriculum or broad state standards (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013). In addition, while teacher-made tests are typically criterion based, the WIAT III is norm-referenced to show which students know more and which students know less (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013). Strengths & Weaknesses Teacher-made tests and the WIAT III both have their place in assessing a students academic achievement. Teacher-made tests are often considered to be better indicators of learning, because teacher-made tests can include many more items [and] can be much more sensitive to small but important changes in student learning (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013). They also reflect instruction and curriculum (O'Malley, 2010) as it is presented in the classroom and they are sensitive to students ability and needs (O'Malley, 2010). Teacher-made tests also show what content requires additional instruction and student practice (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013); therefore subsequent lessons can be adjusted to meet the needs the learners. The WIAT III aligns with recent federal legislation and state regulation changes in the identification of learning disabilities (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013), so it can be used to measure achievement across the areas of reading, writing, math and oral language while indicating if a learning disability is present in the test taker. It provides a clear representation of the

Types of Assessment students ability as compared to other students of the same age and the computerized marking software turns the raw scores into standard scores, percentiles and age equivalencies. This assessment information can be printed in two formats: one for school personnel and a parent summary sheet that can be used to explain the results in a follow up meeting. Both teacher-made tests and the WIAT III have qualities that weaken their efficacy. Teachermade tests are prone to having difficulties with reliability and validity (O'Malley, 2010) depending on the skill level of the test maker. Although standardized test procedures should be utilized, there is risk that technically adequate assessment procedures (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013) are not used which renders the test meaningless. The WIAT III also has drawbacks. It does not necessarily cover material that has been presented in class, instead it skims over a wide range of topics that may or may not be in the curriculum. The biggest disadvantage to the WIAT III is that it takes several hours to administer to each child and the marking process is lengthy, which means that the ability to administer the test is limited by the schedule of the special educator. Purpose The two types of tests, teacher-made and the WIAT III, both look at a students knowledge, but have a different focus on the how the knowledge is analysed to improve student learning. The purpose of using teacher-made tests is to assess students achievement to ascertain the extent to which students have learned or are learning what has been taught or assigned (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013), so that teachers can modify instruction to provide enrichment or remedial instruction (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013). The WIAT III also looks at students knowledge, but this standardized test was created to have a heavier emphasis on using the test to identify the academic strengths and weaknesses of a student, [to] inform decisions regarding eligibility for educational services, educational placement, or diagnosis of a specific learning disability, [and to] design instructional objectives and plan

Types of Assessment interventions (Pearson Education Inc., 2012). Although analysing achievement is at the root of both types of tests, the results are typically used in a different manner. Reliability & Validity Tests need to be reliable and valid in order to be useful in assessing students. A reliable test is one whose score is a trustworthy assessment of a students skills (Kok, 2004) and a valid test is one that measures the learning objectives realistically and effectively (Kok, 2004). In order for a teachermade test to be considered both valid and reliable teachers should develop technically adequate assessment procedures (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013). This can be achieved to a higher accuracy through frequent assessment, using standardized testing procedures and by field testing the questions and then making revisions for subsequent tests (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013). As a standardized test, the WIAT III has already been calculated for its reliability and validity. The composite scores across all school-ages and grades [have] split-half reliabilities higher than .90 except for the Oral Language and Written Expression composites, which *are+ equal to or higher than .85 (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013). To ensure validity, the WIAT III was rigorously tested by examining students response processesstudents common errors *and+ patterns suggesting misunderstanding of questions [and] special group studies with non-randomly selected subsamples of student with disabilities (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013). Overall, the reliability of tests is around 0.50 for teacher-made tests and around 0.90 for commercially prepared standardized tests [and] its magnitude can be affected by such factors as test length, test-item difficulty and discrimination, time limits, and certain characteristics of the groupextent of their testwiseness, level of student motivation, and homogeneity in the ability measured by the test (Frisbie, 2005). Scoring & Interpretation Teacher-made tests can be written in a variety of ways and the format affects the scoring and interpretation. Multiple choice, matching and fill in the blank style questions can be time consuming to

Types of Assessment write properly, but allow the teacher to score and collect the results in a timely manner. The results delineate if the student knows the answer to facts, but does not provide insight into advanced thinking. Teacher-made tests with essay style questions are easy to write and are useful in assessing comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation objectives (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013), but they take a longer time to administer and they are difficult to score accurately. The WIAT III has a strict marking criterion that has been established by the test creators. The scores are tallied into raw scores and the scores are entered into the WIAT III scoring software to calculate the standard scores, percentile ranks, normal curve equivalents, stanines, and age and grade equivalents as well as growth scale value scores (Salvia, Ysseldyke, & Bolt, 2013). The scoring can be time consuming at the high school level, because the test is lengthy, but it is not difficult once training has taken place. The interpretation also requires training, so that the results can be analyzed accurately. Teacher-made tests and the WIAT III are both means of evaluating student achievement. There are pros and cons to each, so it is incumbent upon the test administrator to use the tests appropriately in each case. In my capacity as a Learning Resource Teacher, I rely on both types of assessment to evaluate a students learning and age appropriate progress. Unless a student is being diagnosed with a learning disability, I tend to use teacher-made tests because they are efficient to create and administer. I can also test the specific skill that I am targeting if I create a teacher-made test, rather than the pre-set skills decided upon by the WIAT III test writers. Although both types of tests are achievement tests, it is important to remember that teacher-made tests make valid estimates of what students leave learned and the WIAT III is looking to discriminate ability in the academic areas amongst same age peers.

Types of Assessment References

Frisbie, D. (2005). Reliability of scores from teacher-made tests. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-3992.1988.tb00422.x/abstract Kok, R. (2004). Testing criteria. Retrieved from http://education.ucsb.edu/webdata/instruction/ed395bf/Assessment/About_Assessment.pdf O'Malley, P. (2010). Student evaluation: Steps for creating teacher-made tests. Retrieved from http://magonline.org/Teacher-MadeTestsppt_11.19.2010.pdf Pearson Education Inc. (2012). Wechsler individual achievement testthird edition (wiatiii). Retrieved from http://www.pearsonassessments.com/HAIWEB/Cultures/en Salvia, J., Ysseldyke, J., & Bolt, S. (2013). Assessment in special and inclusive education. (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.