Since 2001, NAEP has been exploring new testing methods and question types that reflect the growing use of technology in education. NAEP has introduced a variety of new question and task types in the assessments to capture student achievement (what students know and are able to do) in more authentic or direct ways, including scenario-based tasks from the technology and engineering literacy (TEL) assessment, interactive computer tasks, and hybrid hands-on tasks.
In 2016, NAEP mathematics and reading assessments were piloted on tablets with an attached keyboard, a stylus, and earbuds and used new testing methods and question types. Some questions included multimedia, such as audio and video. Other questions allowed the use of digital tools (such as an onscreen calculator) to form a response, or engaged students in solving problems within realistic scenarios.
Research in the use of new technologies is ongoing throughout the introduction of digitally based assessments.
New technologies are improving NAEP’s ability to offer accommodations to increase participation and provide universal access to students of all learning backgrounds, including students with disabilities and English learners. In a digital environment, what used to be an accommodation for paper-based testing becomes a seamless part of universal design, available to all students. That means that things like adjusting font size, having test questions read aloud in English (text-to-speech), use of higher contrast to improve readability, and using a highlighter tool are available to all students during the assessments.
Maintaining trend lines (the ability to compare performance results from one year to another) is a priority. To do this, NAEP is using a multistep process to move from paper to digital technology to protect trend reporting. The process involves two stages of piloting before administering an operational digitally based NAEP assessment:
Learn about NAEP's innovation in assessments.
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