Bioscience

Learning.com completes standards setting & validation

March 11, 2009

By Flinn Foundation

Learning.com Completes Rigorous Standards Setting and Validation for Its New 21st Century Skills Assessment

Review panel of educators and psychometricians ensures the assessment provides valid and accurate data for elementary and middle school students

PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Learning.com has completed a rigorous psychometric and standards-setting evaluation for its new 21st Century Skills Assessment, giving educators assurance this new assessment provides a valid assessment of students’ 21st century skills, aligned to the ISTE NETS-S 2007 standards.

Learning.com created this assessment to meet a growing need by districts and states to understand more than merely how proficient students are using technology tools. Rather, this new authentic assessment focuses on student proficiency in 21st century skills. It is fully aligned to and provides data for all the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S):

  • Creativity and Innovation

  • Communication and Collaboration

  • Research and Information Fluency

  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

  • Digital Citizenship

  • Technology Operations and Concepts

Following a psychometric analysis of 21st Century Skills Assessment, a highly qualified panel reviewed the assessment questions and set the proficiency levels for both the Elementary and Middle School versions. The panelists included educators with backgrounds in ISTE NETS-S, and both educators and administrators at the school, district, state and academic levels with deep and practical familiarity with the NETS-S.

“I am amazed at how the panel with diverse backgrounds really had a common vision of educational technology,” says Nan Williams, a member of the review panel and Director of Educational Technology, Arizona Department of Education.

A team of psychometricians from Learning Point Associates supervised the panel. Learning Point Associates is a nonprofit educational organization that works with educators and policy makers in quantitative research design, educational technology and assessment development.

“Few tests are prepared as carefully as this one. The items and the resulting test will be an accurate measure for a student’s technology standards preparation,” says Dr. Gary G. Bitter, who participated on the review panel. Bitter is a researcher, former president of ISTE and former co-director of the ISTE NETS project.

The review followed full beta testing with a statistically representative group of elementary and middle school students from across the nation.

The assessment, available with both a pretest and posttest, requires that students demonstrate knowledge in both performance and multiple choice questions, and provides reports at the district, school, class and student levels. For statewide implementations, the assessment provides aggregated reporting for students in every district in which it is administered.

An optional portfolio assessment gives teachers rubrics to assess student projects for skills like creativity and innovation, giving them a vehicle to understand students’ skills in areas that multiple-choice and performance-based test questions cannot reach.

The criterion-referenced assessment also provides multiple levels of proficiency: Advanced, Proficient, Basic and Below Basic, helping educators individualize instruction to meet students’ needs.

“Learning.com continues to pioneer assessment to understand students’ technology and 21st century skills,” says William Kelly, Learning.com CEO. “We created the technology proficiency assessment with TechLiteracy Assessment in 2006, and now see this new assessment as continuing to provide important data to districts and states, helping them make the best decisions for their students, their resources and to inform their planning.”

More than half a million assessments have been administered with TechLiteracy Assessment to students throughout the United States since its introduction in 2006. It has won numerous awards, including the prestigious SIIA Codie Award.

Schools will begin testing with 21st Century Skills Assessment in March. For more information, visit www.learning.com/21skills.

About Learning.com

Founded in 1999, Learning.com helps educators improve student performance in core curriculum and 21st century skills through Web-delivered curriculum and assessment, in use by more than two million students. Our unique integration of technology literacy with core curriculum instruction enables states, districts and schools to simultaneously improve student proficiency in technology skills and core disciplines. Using our Digital Learning Environment, teachers easily customize curriculum, individualize instruction, and obtain professional development. Learning.com’s solutions include EasyTech, a proven, K-8 technology literacy curriculum that helps students develop and apply technology skills in math, science, language arts, and social studies; TechLiteracy Assessment, providing valid measurement and reports for critical technology skills and knowledge in K-8; 21st Century Skills Assessment, providing valid data aligned to ISTE NETS 2007 standards; and Aha!Math, an interactive K-5 supplemental math curriculum. Learning.com is a member of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. For more information, please visit http://www.learning.com or call 800-580-4640.