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Cito at the 43rd Annual Conference of the International Association for Educational Assessment

Between October 1 and 6 , 2017, Cito experts participated actively in the International Conference in Batumi, hosted by the National Assessment and Examinations Center in Georgia. Within the framework of the Conference theme - Assessment as a Social Lever – our experts presented several examples of recent developments and research findings. Cito is one of the founding members of the IAEA and holds a seat in the Board.

Before the official start of the Conference, Cito senior consultant and trainer Mr Nico Dieteren conducted a preconference workshop on the topic “How to assess higher order thinking skills? Theory and practice for paper based and computer based item formats”. The workshop offered an introduction into Item construction for higher order thinking skills and applications for paper based and computer based testing. Participants could gain insight in the do’s and don’ts when developing good test items in realistic contexts and received practical exercises with checklists for item properties and for the selection of good contexts. The use of taxonomies for developing an item bank was shown, starting from the well-known classification by Bloom (revised). In the end participants were informed about lessons learned in the Netherlands when introducing computer based testing in high stakes final examinations. The specific Scalise taxonomy, that shows special features and opportunities when developing items for computer based testing, was shortly introduced.

During the Conference several presentations in breakout sessions were given by Cito experts.
Ms Saskia Wools presented a new Cito tool under the title “Students celebrate learning with a digital formative assessment program”. Schools are looking for tests and assessments that have the benefits of big standardized tests in terms of psychometric quality, comparability, and being norm-referenced, while at the same time, having the flexibility and in-depth information that can be provided through formative classroom assessments. At Cito we developed a prototype of an assessment program that facilitates teachers in shaping flexible education in the Netherlands. The prototype includes both teacher and student apps. The program combines badges with principles of formative assessment, and consists of small tests that aim to measure very small learning objectives in mathematics.

Using technology to move from paper to digital to personalized learning, was the main topic of a joint presentation by Mr Frans Kleintjes from Cito and Mr Mark Molenaar from OAT: “The Evolution of Assessment”. They shared experiences in moving from paper to digital and ultimately personalized learning from both angles. Leveraging open standards like IMS QTI and LTI allows technology companies like OAT to focus on software development and institutes like Cito to provide value-added services to ensure development of sound digital chains that are fit for purpose.

Under the title “Assessment tool validation research at Nazarbayev Intellectual schools: student performance monitoring system in Mathematics”, Mr Nico Dieteren presented an overview of the validation research that was performed in 2017 to provide more information on the fundamental issue: ‘what makes our test items the best for monitoring learning progress of the individual students?’.

Another joint presentation was given by Ms Esther van Loo together with the project manager of Monitoring Languages project in Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS), Ms Diana Sartauova: “Monitoring Languages in a Trilingual Setting”. Kazakhstan is executing a national trilingual policy that facilitates school graduates to become advanced language users in Kazakh, Russian and English at CEFR-level C1. NIS is the first to implement this trilingual policy. In all 21 schools subjects are given in one of these three languages. In the presentation the experts from NIS and Cito shared and exchanged experiences in language monitoring in the context of dynamic national educational policies. Successes, challenges and plans for the future were discussed.