In recent months, Education Week has published several articles that mention or highlight the Dynamic Learning Maps™ (DLM®) Alternate Assessment project, including a guest blog by Project Director Neal Kingston and a pair of stories on alternate assessment choices, implementation, and field tests.
An excerpt from Dr. Kingston’s blog:
“The concept of mass customization – the well-structured designing of flexibility into a product to allow it to meet individual needs – needs to be applied to educational assessment….In Fall 2014, the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment, developed at the University of Kansas, will be the first operational assessment system to embody these principles to serve the learning needs of individual students.”
An excerpt from a feature that highlights DLM field tests and includes photos of teachers and students at Buhler Grade School in Buhler, Kan.:
Neal Kingston, who directs Dynamic Learning Maps, which is based at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, said that the content of the assessment is not the only piece being evaluated during the field tests: The computer software that brings the test to the students and teachers also will be under scrutiny.
“Is it truly accessible? Is it laid out in an understandable fashion?” Mr. Kingston said. “There (are) lots of accessibility issues. Sometimes we're really sure what we're looking for, and sometimes we don't know what's going to happen.”
An excerpt from a story detailing the divergent pathways taken in alternative-assessment development, including the DLM project:
Based at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Dynamic Learning Maps has devised its tests around the idea that it's possible to create an optimal map, or web, showing the many complex, interconnected ways students learn.
“We refer to it as the Human Genome Project of education,” said Neal Kingston, the project director for the DLM. Unlike most adaptive tests, which are based on item difficulty, the DLM will emphasize the “pathway” by which a specific student learns. "An item can be difficult in a lot of different ways,” said Mr. Kingston. “We're interested in the underlying skills.”