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Grand Challenge - 2.0

2.0: Design and validate an integrated system for designing and implementing valid, reliable, and cost-effective assessments of complex aspects of 21st century expertise and competencies across academic disciplines.

The multiple-choice tests used in nearly all large-scale assessment programs fail to meet the challenge of capturing some of the most important aspects of 21st century expertise and competencies. Past attempts to measure these areas have been expensive and of limited reliability. Technology offers new options for addressing the multiple components of this challenge. For example, technology can support

  • Systematic analysis of the claims about student competence (including competence with respect to complex aspects of inquiry, reasoning, design, and communication) intended by academic standards and the kinds of evidence needed to judge whether or not a student has each of those aspects of competence
  • Specifying assessment tasks and situations that would provide the desired evidence
  • Administering complex assessment tasks capable of capturing complex aspects of 21st century expertise through the use of technology
  • Developing and applying rules and statistical models for generating reliable inferences about the learner’s competencies based on performance on the assessment tasks.

Promising R&D applying technology to each of these components of the grand challenge is ongoing, but the pieces have yet to be integrated into a single system that is applicable across content domains and that is cost-effective to implement. In addition to system development, solving this grand challenge problem will require studies to demonstrate the validity of the new assessments and their usefulness for both making formative instructional decisions to improve learning and summative evaluative decisions for purposes of establishing competency and accountability.

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