Why combining assessments and LMS technology is essential

Assessments are more than just measuring how well students are doing in particular subjects in school, and they can actually improve student learning. In fact, frequent assessments can have a positive impact on a student’s education from kindergarten through college. While this may make some educators cringe, the reality is that test-enhanced learning, or testing as an aid to learning, has evidence of effectiveness dating back nearly 100 years (Roediger III, McDaniel, & McDermott, 2006).

Testing can help students better retain and recall what they studied, not only for the final exam, but as part of their overall educational development. This is the “testing effect,” or the phenomenon where taking a quiz can enhance later retention of studied materials, and its effectiveness has been demonstrated many times over. Students who take quizzes shortly after they study show better performance on a final test relative to students who only study without taking a practice quiz, even when no feedback is given on the quiz (Roediger III, McDaniel, & McDermott, 2006).

The testing effect, also known as retrieval practice, practice testing, or test-enhanced learning, needs a place in today’s modern learning. It can be implemented in modern learning management system (LMS) and assessment management system (AMS) technologies, like Gauge, to help improve student learning, from their first day in kindergarten to their last day of earning a university degree.…Read More

How to change recruitment for an evolving high school grad demographic

The fundamental nature of post-secondary education recruiting is changing significantly and enrollment management departments need to start preparing for those changes now.

First, the pool of eligible students is predicted to decline in the immediate future. The graduating high school classes from 2017 through 2023 will all produce fewer graduating seniors than the peak of 2013.

In addition, the demographics of those graduating classes are shifting. For example, the number of graduating Hispanic students is predicted to increase by more than 50 percent by 2025, while Caucasian students will decline by 14 percent by 2030.…Read More

Should HED use this popular K-12 assessment?

Though resources such as graduation rates and standardized test scores are often used by prospective college students to evaluate an institution’s offerings, before-and-after learning measurements might be more effective, according to new research.

A test of this learning, such as a test to measure students’ writing skills during four years of college, should be used by all colleges and universities, according to a researcher at Rice University.

The researcher found that Rice undergraduates’ writing skills improved 7 percent over their college years, and college-ranking websites could help prospective students narrow their college search by providing information on how students improve skills such as writing during their education at various schools.…Read More

The dark side of higher ed’s ePortfolios-what really happened

Pre-dating the widespread use of blogs and personal websites, the 1990s era ePortfolio inspired storytelling about lifelong learning and everything that entails: formal schooling, personal reflection, career planning, presentations of evidence to assist in life transitions, and snapshots of abilities and character. This generalized use–the ability to do many things reasonably well–made the ePortfolio a likely candidate for long-term survival.

But this did not happen.

Going to the Dark Side…Read More

Adaptive learning featured in HarvardX course

HarvardX, a Harvard University strategic initiative, is running a massive open online course (MOOC) featuring adaptive learning and assessment algorithms, which tailor course material in response to student performance.

Adaptive learning functionality–never before offered in a HarvardX course and featured in a few courses across the edX online learning platform–has been deployed in Super-Earths and Life, instructed by Harvard’s Phillips Professor of Astronomy Dimitar Sasselov. The effort aims to gain a preliminary assessment of the technological feasibility and implications of adaptive functionality to online course design.

“Adaptive learning programs are very good at speeding up information acquisition and lengthening retention, as well as individualizing learning to help learners see where they have difficulty,” said Peter K. Bol, Harvard’s Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL) and Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations.…Read More

The rise of portfolios within college admissions

Learning Machine CEO Chris Jagers hosted a conversation about the growing role of portfolios during the college admissions process at the annual meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Participants from MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, Maker Media, and Learning Machine Research presented findings, told stories, and answered questions from High School Counselors and College Admissions Officers about the role of portfolios within admissions, classrooms, and society at large.

“This discussion happened within the wider context of schools looking for new dimensions of merit, becoming test-score optional, and an information economy that increasingly values competencies above all else. So, it’s not surprising that we see more and more schools turning to portfolios to help admissions officers make the best decisions,” said Chris Jagers, CEO of Learning Machine.

Dale Dougherty, CEO of Maker Media, kicked off the discussion with the clear message that everyone is a maker. “Making occurs not because [students are] doing it for school or assigned it. Making happens because this is who they are and this is how they express themselves. This is how they connect to other people. This is how they learn about the world around them. And so my argument is, why doesn’t that have a wider place in school or in evaluating people for opportunities in higher education?”…Read More

Upgraded ALEKS solution launches for new year

McGraw-Hill Education, a learning science company, announced the release of an upgraded version of ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (PPL), an adaptive placement solution that has revolutionized how colleges assess and prepare incoming students in math and helps them lower failure rates and increase retention.

By combining smart assessment with adaptive learning tools, ALEKS PPL helps students quickly relearn lost knowledge before re-taking the assessment and increases the likelihood they will be placed into higher-level math courses. Colleges that use ALEKS PPL have reported placing fewer students into developmental math courses and seen improved freshman retention rates, leading to large cost and time-to-degree savings.

The upgraded version of ALEKS PPL includes:
1) An improved and modernized interface for administrators and students.
2) A redesign that encourages students to take advantage of the Prep & Learning section of the tool so they can practice, learn and fill gaps in their math knowledge.
3) Improved dashboard data reporting for administrators, highlighting areas where students need intervention.…Read More

5 ways to un-suck higher ed standardized assessments

Higher education standardized assessments are coming—but is there a way to turn them from the dark side?

As colleges and universities are increasingly required to “prove” efficacy of teaching and learning, many conversations—especially at the federal level—are circling around developing standardized assessments for higher education.

Naturally, postsecondary stakeholders and faculty worry that these assessments could have a negative impact, and shudder at the prospect of metrics mirroring those of K-12’s. But is it all doom-and-gloom in the standardized assessment realm, or can a postsecondary-specific design work to higher education’s advantage?

Take Our Quick Poll!…Read More

The top 5 craziest online cheating incidents

Test integrity provider offers details on some of the most common and outrageous cheating incidents

In anticipation of upcoming college finals, Examity unveiled the most outrageous and prevalent examples of students caught cheating during an online proctored exam.

Examity, a test integrity provider, reviewed 62,534 online final exams proctored last fall.

While the vast majority of students complete their exams honestly, 3,952 students or 6 percent, still violated exam rules while being proctored. Here are the Top 5 most brazen ways Examity caught a student cheating:…Read More

A new type of student assessment emerges

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.…Read More