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Technology-Based Assessment Tutorials

The National Assessment of Educational Progress conducted a number of studies related to the computer delivery of assessment exercises. Among other things, these studies examined how students perform on computer-based versus paper math and writing assessments, how population groups are affected, and the operational and logistical mechanics of computer-delivered assessments. To show students how to use the computer to take the assessments, tutorials were developed.


All questions used in the study were converted into a computer-deliverable format from existing grade 4 and 8 paper-and-pencil NAEP mathematics instruments. Multiple-choice and constructed-response questions were included at both grade levels. In the paper-and-pencil instruments, students filled in ovals for multiple-choice questions and wrote their answers and explanations for constructed-response questions. For questions administered online, students were required to click on the correct answer choice for multiple-choice items. For constructed-response questions, they were required to enter their answers in different ways, depending upon the type of question. Response modes included typing a number or an explanation, drawing a figure with the mouse, or building a figure by clicking online segments.

The first tutorial at grade 4 and grade 8 was designed to train students to use the computer to complete the assessment. The tutorial had an embedded typing quiz and tasks to provide a measure of keyboarding skill. It also provided practice in clicking on choices, clicking to shade or darken regions, moving back and forth between screens, correcting errors, and typing answers and explanations. The tutorial was designed to be completed in approximately 10 minutes.

Mathematics Online (MOL) Tutorial Screen Capture

The second tutorial was designed to train students to use the onscreen calculator to answer questions. The calculator tutorial at grade 4 is for a four-function calculator and the tutorial at grade 8 is for a scientific calculator. Students are instructed on how to enter numbers, use the function keys, and clear the calculator. They are also given a sample problem to solve. The calculator tutorial was designed to be completed in less than five minutes.

Mathematics Online (MOL) Tutorial Calculator Screen Capture


The WOL test assessed the writing of eighth-grade students. In the assessment, students did the following:

  • viewed a tutorial that guided students through basic computer skills and gave an overview of the test screens;
  • took a word processing measure that included a keyboarding exercise and five editing tasks;
  • wrote two 25-minute essays (one informative and one persuasive); and
  • responded to questions about their background and computer experience.

The WOL tutorial showed students how to perform basic computer functions, such as using the mouse and scrolling, and familiarized them with the layout of the test screens and the word processing tools they used to type their essays. Following the tutorial, students moved into the actual assessment exercises. In the tutorial, you can view what the eighth-grade students saw on their computers before they took the WOL assessment.

Writing Online (WOL) Tutorial Screen Capture

Last updated 02 October 2020 (AA)