A new type of student assessment emerges

By Ronald Bethke
April 26th, 2016


A new, open source student assessment focused on developing core skills rather than passing or failing aims to transform the idea of student readiness.

An innovative new student assessment has been developed in order to better measure student readiness and success for college.

Created by Excelsior College, the Diagnostic Assessment and Achievement of College Skills, or DAACS, is aimed at offering a different look at readiness beyond high school grades and standardized tests like the SAT or ACT, which can be poor indicators of future college success, especially when it comes to underserved populations. [Read: “What do test-optional admissions really look like?“]

The new open-source assessment tool was created using a 2.9 million dollar First in the World federal grant offered to just 17 institutions from the U.S. Department of Education, and stems from the rise of trust in self-reported assessments on predictors like GRIT and mindset.

“Did students not score well [on a major test like the SAT or ACT] because they didn’t test well, just needed a brief refresher, had test anxiety, or for any other reason?” asked Dr. Jason Bryer, executive director & principal investigator of DAACS at Excelsior. “We don’t know. Often, how someone does is based on if they had a good breakfast or not. Taking that out of the equation and measuring things like effort and desire are why we feel DAACS is better. We should give a formative assessment that shows where you are and what you need to do in order to get where you want to be.”

(Next page: How the DAACS student assessment works)

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