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Ohio Data Primer

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Module 4: Tutorial—Where Can We Improve?

End-of-unit tests and classroom quizzes typically do not benefit from the same careful psychometric test construction resources available to large-scale assessment developers. We therefore should expect to see less stability in student ranks and scores. On the other hand, these tests and quizzes typically are more closely aligned to the teaching that actually occurred just before the test. They therefore have more potential to inform about the specifics of instruction or learning. Let's take a look at the first four end-of-unit results for this sixth-grade class.

There are more crossovers in this plot than for one with OAT or MAP results. Still, overall the trends appear mostly parallel with each other and verging upwards. This is encouraging in two ways: (1) the relatively small number of crossovers suggests that the measures are working reasonably well; and (2) the upticks in trends suggest learning is improving (or that the tests have easier content over time).

Still, on close inspection, we see there is a cluster lines that cross between Unit 3 and Unit 4, with most high scorers declining sharply from Unit 3 test to the Unit 4 test. Was the Unit 4 test unexpectedly difficult? For high scorers the answer is apparently "yes." On the other hand, several of the lower scoring Unit 3 performers improved on Unit 4. Could the Unit 4 test include a deceptive item or two to which high and low responded differently? The graph suggests some investigation might be in order before using these results to make consequential choices. The teacher's detailed knowledge of each student and how they responded to instruction is likely to be sufficient to reach a conclusion about the quality and appropriateness of these two end-of-unit tests in this classroom.

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