Redesigning the CEM Mathematics Diagnostic Tests as Developmental Assessment Instruments

Redesigning the CEM Mathematics Diagnostic Tests as Developmental Assessment Instruments

Current efforts of the Center for Educational Measurement to redesign its diagnostic tests in mathematics across six grade levels are guided by the developmental approach to assessment adopted by the Australian Council for Educational Research. This approach generates progress maps which place a learner’s skills and knowledge along a typical sequence of development as the learner moves within one grade level and on to the next level. Progress is measured in terms of degree of mastery of content and subsequent attainment of higher levels of performance. This is based on the notion that one’s competence in an area of learning improves over time.

The progress map described in this paper is drawn from a synthesis of logical connections among the contents and skills found in the various learning areas covered by the CEM mathematics diagnostic tests. The map is the result of a series of consultations between CEM test developers and subject area experts. The competencies measured by the tests are specified by a national core curriculum – the 2002 Basic Education Curriculum – with the inclusion of some topics not part of the core but found to be commonly taken up by a surveyed sample of private schools. This paper also explores the impact of progress maps on (1) measuring a learner’s growth, and (2) aligning assessments to development across the curriculum.

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