Assessment can no longer be detached from learning. In the 21st century there are more and more assessment systems that make links to learning in some way or another. The adaptive Learning & Assessment System (LAS) for science project aims to blend learning and assessment within a gamified system that will attract high-school students to “play” while practicing and learning scientific literacy skills that will help them be ready for college. The project capitalizes on and develops innovative ways in three directions: (1) innovative item types, including developing item templates and automatic item generation, and interactive tasks that involve built-in options for scaffolding and feedback; (2) innovative adaptive mechanism, including psychometric and learning algorithms as well as options for student self-adaption; and (3) incorporating gamification and a reward system such that students are encouraged to put effort towards their success due to reflection on their progress in learning.

This emerging educational method adapts educational material to each student’s needs, which we might determine using any number of data streams—including cognitive measures, non-cognitive assessments, immersive simulations, or other experiences. We’ve already started to leverage the remedial resources offered by OpenEd into our proprietary CDMLAS technology (using the OpenEd API), and adaptive learning is part of a strategic effort towards enabling personalized experiences with ACT products and services.

The ACTNext team is currently fitting cognitive diagnostic models to several ACT test forms, and we have outlined the specifications for the data from test preparation apps. We’re actively researching other types of data and developing prototypes for providing personalized feedback and recommendations to learners.

The adaptive LAS for science project rely on recent research in assessment as well as in Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) and adaptive and personalized learning, while incorporating recent advances in technology. The system targets the construct of “science” as defined by the ACT’s Holistic Framework, i.e., focusing on scientific reasoning skills required in various content domains (e.g., biology, chemistry, Earth space sciences and physics) and which was identified as necessary for college and career readiness. This construct is also strongly tied to the “practice” skills in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and the project aims to make these connections visible as to assure relevance to the curriculum taught in high school. The project is led by Meirav Arieli-Attali, using an expansion of the Evidence Centered-Design (ECD) framework for development.