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Greater diagnostic power: Introducing new adaptive assessments to the Progressive Achievement for International Schools suite

Feature 4 minute read

ACER’s innovative adaptive assessments are now available for international school students, with content tailored to meet their learning needs.

The new Progressive Achievement for International Schools (PAIS) Adaptive assessments – and the innovative ACER Data Explorer – are now available.

Based on the internationally recognised models that power the successful PAT Adaptive assessments, used by thousands of schools in Australia, the new assessments will offer international schools the same opportunity to test their students more accurately and fairly.

‘Computer adaptive testing provides a more precise picture of what a student knows and can do in a learning area,’ explains Dr Jarrod Hingston, Director, School and Early Childhood Education Services at ACER.

‘PAIS Adaptive ensures that students are presented test content that is well-targeted to their abilities as they progress through the test, providing more accurate results to educators as students are appropriately challenged,’ he says.

‘Better targeted content also supports student engagement. For example, students are less likely to be discouraged by being presented content that is consistently too difficult or disengage from content that is consistently too easy.’

The PAIS Adaptive suite is also underpinned by ACER’s signature Progressive Achievement approach – the idea that all learners can be supported to demonstrate progress, regardless of their starting point.

How PAIS Adaptive works

Currently PAIS Adaptive is available for two learning areas, reading and mathematics. The assessment is designed for use across years 1 to 10 and aims to assess content the way it is taught in most curricula.

There are eight entry levels into the assessment which are automatically assigned, eliminating the need for teachers to assign starting points. From there, students progress through a series of 'testlets', which are groups of test items. Their performance on each testlet determines the difficulty of the next testlet they see.

The results are highly personalised test pathways tailored to individual learners, and highly accurate data about their capabilities. Both learning areas currently have more than 700 pathways available through the assessment.

The first time students complete any PAIS Adaptive assessment, the entry level will be based on their grade level, subsequent entry levels will be determined by their previous result.

New insights from data

Like other ACER assessments, PAIS Adaptive assessments describe student achievement on a scale. However, due to the personalised test pathways, the resulting data offers expanded opportunities to gain meaningful insights into student performance. The ACER Data Explorer has been developed to support adaptive testing.

‘Different ways to group data allow for greater diagnostic power,’ says Toby Newton, Senior Project Director and driving force behind the ACER Data Explorer design.

‘For example, you might explore a student’s achievement by grouping items by strand; a number of incorrect questions in a particular strand that are scored at a difficulty level lower than the student’s scale score may indicate an area they’re struggling with.’

Aiming to reduce the number of steps educators must make before getting student results, the ACER Data Explorer allows educators to switch easily between report formats, student cohorts, items and more to interrogate the data.

Start your 30-day free trial

PAIS Adaptive Mathematics and Reading are now available! Contact our team to find out more and start your 30-day free trial.