News

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dynamic Learning Maps appointed two new members to its Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) last week, bringing the committee's total appointments to nine experts in areas of assessment ranging from standard setting and validity in large-scale assessments, to accessibility in alternative assessments, to cognitive diagnostic modeling.

Russell Almond is an associate professor of measurement and statistics at Florida State University and brings with him 14 years' experience in assessment. The Harvard Ph.D. recipient has contributed award-winning original research in assessment design and  produced specialized software systems for complex assessment scoring.

Karla Egan brings several years' experience in the development of large-scale, high-stakes assessment and has conducted extensive psychometric research on multiple state-level assessment programs. A recognized expert in standard setting, Egan currently serves on a National Academy of Sciences committee that is evaluating achievement levels in national standardized assessments.

Almond and Egan will join the next TAC meeting on October 1.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Dynamic Learning Maps™ consortium has announced members of its 2015 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). This year’s committee includes four new and four returning members. The group will first meet on Wednesday, January 28, to discuss the topics of modeling and standard setting.

TAC members advise Dynamic Learning Maps consortium staff on a variety of topics including system design, test development, psychometric and validity research design, and interpretation of findings. Over the coming years, the TAC will advise the consortium especially on how to best present the precise evidence needed for U.S. Department of Education peer review of the Dynamic Learning Maps assessment system.

All committee members hold a Ph.D. in various areas of education and are distinguished in their fields. The committee members’ areas of expertise are several, including:

  • Cognitive diagnostic psychometrics and Bayesian network analysis
  • Implementation and review of large-scale accountability assessment
  • Accessibility and inclusion of students with significant cognitive disabilities in large-scale assessment

2015 Technical Advisory Committee members include, alphabetically:

Returning

  • Jamal Abedi, University of California–Davis
  • James Pellegrino, University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Ed Roeber, Assessment Solutions Group/Michigan Assessment Consortium
  • David Williamson, Educational Testing Service

New

  • Greg Camilli, Rutgers University
  • George Engelhard, University of Georgia
  • Gerald Tindal, University of Oregon
  • Phoebe Winter, Independent Consultant
Monday, January 12, 2015

The Lawrence Journal-World recently reported on the progress of the Dynamic Learning Maps™ project, produced by the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

Currently in its fifth year, the Dynamic Learning Maps project is nearing completion.

Read the full story on the LJ World's website.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Achievement and Assessment Institute (AAI) at the University of Kansas has received a $212,000 award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a prototype web interface that would allow students, parents, teachers and researchers to understand the relationships among mathematics topics by exploring the KU-developed Dynamic Learning Maps™ (DLM®) tool for mathematics taught in middle- and high-school grades.

The agreement extends through June 2015 and supports a cross-disciplinary team that includes the design and data-visualization expertise of Richard Branham, internationally acclaimed professor of interaction design; the math-education expertise of Angela Broaddus, AAI research associate and the learning-map expertise of Neal Kingston, professor of educational psychology and research. Kingston also serves as the project’s principal investigator.

AAI is one of six national awardees working to employ learning maps within innovative solutions for improving teaching and learning.

“Use of learning maps holds promise for enabling personalized education in ways that can dramatically improve student learning. Without user-facing spatial visualization tools, a learning map is unnavigable – it’s like attempting to read a geographic map without opening it up,” said AAI Director Kingston, who directs the DLM Alternate Assessment Consortium. “We are very excited to share the learning map with a broader audience. Since its inception, we have held the view that it has terrific potential as an educational planning tool. This partnership will support us in exploring ways to provide access to what has thus far been only available as a research tool.”

“The Institute’s excellent reputation continues to grow,” said KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, “both in this country and elsewhere. Educators and policymakers need tools that guide classroom instruction and student learning in meaningful ways. AAI is creating rich support systems that will help educators meet the needs of 21st-century learners.”

Initially developed by AAI’s Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation to support the Dynamic Learning Maps™ Alternate Assessment Program, the learning map resource provides a research-based, graphical illustration of thousands of language acquisition and mathematics concepts and skills learned from birth through high school. The network display also shows the many connections between concepts and skills that promote rich understanding. Access to the map through an interface specifically designed for teachers, parents and students can effectively bridge the gap between research and practice, allowing a wider audience of practitioners and families to apply lessons learned in educational research to practical learning issues in classrooms and homes.

AAI will lead a team of experts in mathematics education, interaction design and data visualization to develop an intuitive interface for navigating and viewing the learning map. The map's refined detail will support educators in identifying critical prerequisites for topics they teach; it also will help educators diagnose the sources of students’ errors and misconceptions.

Educators, parents and students from several states will play integral roles in the process of designing an intuitive interface that meets their needs. One of their first opportunities to participate will be in focus groups, during which members of the research team will meet with small groups of teachers, parents and students to gather information about how they would be interested in using the map.

Branham said AAI’s chief design principle is to maintain focus on the intended users’ needs and interaction preferences.

“By collaborating with researchers across several disciplines and interacting with teachers, students and parents, we can solve complex human-technology problems and facilitate effective learning in a way that is engaging and fun,” he said. “We believe that this project will demonstrate the value of that approach and lead to more collaborations.”

 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

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.”

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

North Dakota becomes the 17th state to join the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment Consortium (DLM), a multistate initiative developing an instructionally embedded, instructionally relevant, computer-based assessment designed to help students learn.

The DLM Consortium, led by the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) at the University of Kansas, now has 17 member states: Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“We welcome North Dakota as the 17th state to join our efforts in creating meaningful instruction and assessment systems for students with significant cognitive abilities,” DLM project director Neal Kingston said. “As the consortium continues to expand, it will benefit more students and their families as well as help teachers help their students.”

The DLM Consortium is developing the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment to help the 1 percent of the K–12 public school student population with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Even with accommodations, the general state assessments are not appropriate for these students. Therefore, these students take an alternate assessment.

Implementing the alternate assessment during the 2014–2015 school year will mark the first time most students with significant cognitive disabilities are assessed using an online, computer-based, large-scale state assessment. Their participation represents another significant step to increased equity and improving educational outcomes.

The DLM system is being designed to simultaneously support teacher instruction and student learning by having assessment tasks model good instruction and by being embedded within teachers’ classroom activities throughout the school year.

“All of North Dakota’s students deserve the best learning and assessment processes we can provide them,” North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Baesler said. “Our statewide work group of special education teachers and program coordinators thoroughly researched the available options and believe that Dynamic Learning Maps offers the best program for our children who need an alternate assessment.”

DLM is funded through a five-year-grant awarded in late 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The DLM Consortium is one of two multistate consortia to receive federal grants to create a next-generation alternate assessment linked to Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts for the 1 percent population.

DLM is led by CETE, a nationally recognized center specializing in large-scale assessment and online test delivery systems. For more than 30 years, CETE has developed cutting-edge testing programs and technology tools including the Kansas Assessment Program, Dynamic Learning Maps, Kansas Writing Instruction and Education Tool©, Career Pathways Assessment System, Adaptive Reading Motivation Measures, and the Accessibility for Technology Enhanced Assessments project. Many of these projects involve working with multiple states. CETE has worked with the State of Kansas for three decades to provide Kansas schools with a variety of assessment services. Through its partnership with the Kansas State Department of Education, CETE offers computerized assessments to all 286 Kansas school districts using computer testing software that CETE created.

Contacts: Annette Tait, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, 701-328-2247;
Lisa McBride, The Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation, 785-864-6187

Monday, July 1, 2013

Alaska becomes the 16th state to join the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment Consortium, a multi-state initiative developing a computer-based assessment designed to more validly measure what students with significant cognitive disabilities know and can do.

The DLM Consortium, led by the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) at the University of Kansas, now has 16 member states: Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“We are proud to join the DLM states and partners in our continuing effort to ensure that all Alaskan students have access to challenging grade-level instructional content,” said Erik McCormick, director of assessment, accountability & information management with the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. “The opportunity to seamlessly fuse daily instruction with innovative assessments is one that we embrace.”

Once the assessment is implemented in these states during the 2014–2015 school year, it will mark the first time most students with significant cognitive disabilities are assessed using an online, computer-based, large-scale state assessment.

The DLM Consortium is developing the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment, a computer-based assessment for the 1 percent of the K-12 public school student population with significant cognitive disabilities for whom, even with accommodations, general state assessments are not appropriate. Therefore, these students take an alternate assessment.

The DLM assessment system is being designed to simultaneously support teacher instruction and student learning by having assessment tasks model good instruction and by being embedded within teachers’ classroom activities throughout the school year.

“With Alaska on-board, the Consortium continues its work to develop a meaningful assessment system for students with significant cognitive disabilities,” said Neal Kingston, DLM project director and CETE co-director. “We welcome Alaska to the group and look forward to utilizing their expertise in the field of alternate assessment in order to better support student learning and teacher instruction.”

DLM is funded through a five-year-grant awarded in late 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Its $22 million grant award was the largest in KU history at that time. The DLM Consortium is one of two multistate consortia to receive federal grants to create a next-generation alternate assessment linked to Common Core State Standards and similar state standards in math and English language arts for the 1 percent population.

DLM is led by CETE, a nationally recognized center specializing in large-scale assessment and online test delivery systems. For more than 30 years, CETE has developed cutting-edge testing programs and technology tools including the Kansas Assessment Program, Dynamic Learning Maps, Kansas Writing Instruction and Education Tool®, Career Pathways Assessment System, Adaptive Reading Motivation Measures, and the Accessibility for Technology Enhanced Assessments project. Many of these projects involve working with multiple states. CETE has worked with the State of Kansas for three decades to provide Kansas schools with a variety of assessment services. Through its partnership with the Kansas State Department of Education, CETE offers computerized assessments to all 286 Kansas school districts using computer testing software CETE created.

Contacts: Aran Felix, Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, 907-465-8437;
Lisa Weeks, Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation, 785-864-6390

Monday, May 20, 2013

Illinois has joined the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment Consortium.

With the addition of Illinois, the DLM Consortium, led by the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) at the University of Kansas, now comprises 15 member states: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Once the assessment is implemented in these states during the 2014-2015 school year, it will mark the first time most students with significant cognitive disabilities are assessed using an online, computer-based, large-scale state assessment.

“We’re honored to be a part of this consortium and eager to get to work,” said Illinois State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “This work will ensure that we continue to measure the performance of students with disabilities and better monitor student progress. The online aspect of this new assessment system will give teachers real-time feedback to drive instruction and any necessary intervention.”

The DLM Consortium is developing the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment, a computer-based assessment for the 1 percent of the K-12 public school student population with significant cognitive disabilities for whom, even with accommodations, general state assessments are not appropriate.

The DLM assessment system is being designed to simultaneously support teacher instruction and student learning by having assessment tasks model good instruction and by being embedded within teachers’ classroom activities throughout the school year.

“We are thrilled to welcome Illinois to our efforts to create a valid and meaningful assessment system for students with significant cognitive disabilities,” said Neal Kingston, DLM project director and CETE co-director. “With the addition of Illinois, the DLM Consortium moves a big step forward to ensuring the development of a high-quality assessment system that will support student learning and teacher instruction.”

DLM is funded through a five-year-grant awarded in late 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Its $22 million grant award was the largest in KU history at that time. The DLM Consortium is one of two multistate consortia to receive federal grants to create a next-generation alternate assessment linked to Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts for the 1 percent population.

DLM is led by CETE, a nationally recognized center specializing in large-scale assessment and online test delivery systems. For more than 30 years, CETE has developed cutting-edge testing programs and technology tools, including the Kansas Assessment Program, Dynamic Learning Maps, Kansas Writing Instruction and Education Tool, and Adaptive Reading Motivation Measures.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Dynamic Learning Maps project has added a new associate director, Meagan Karvonen, Ph.D., a long-time researcher in the field of alternate assessments. Beginning this spring on a limited basis, she will join the project full-time in June.

Karvonen will lead the DLM project’s test development and measurement team during the next phase of development of the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment System, a computer-based assessment for the 1% of the K-12 public school student population with significant cognitive disabilities for whom, even with accommodations, general state assessments are not appropriate.

She will lead the effort to create assessment content in preparation for field testing and pilot testing before the DLM Assessment is implemented in 14 states during the 2014-2015 school year. She will also oversee the next phase of learning map development and research on the DLM assessment system.

Karvonen currently serves as associate professor of educational research at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Her primary research and work have focused on the inclusion of students with disabilities in large-scale assessments, with an emphasis on alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards.

“I’m excited to be joining the Dynamic Learning maps team,” Karvonen said. “By embedding assessment modeled on good instructional activities throughout the school year, we expect to improve the learning of students with the greatest educational needs.”

The DLM assessment system is being designed to support student learning by having assessment tasks model good instruction. Assessment is embedded in teachers’ instruction given throughout the school year in ways that allow the Dynamic Learning Map to help teachers teach better. It will be implemented in the DLM Consortium states during the 2014-2015 school year.

She has done much work on a national level on alternate assessments, including doing research for the National Alternate Assessment Center, assisting multiple state departments of education with improving their assessment systems, and serving as chairperson of the American Educational Research Association Special Interest Group on Inclusion and Accommodation in Educational Assessment.

“We are thrilled to have attracted Meagan,” said Neal Kingston, DLM project director. “Her experience with alternate assessment and working relationships with state departments of education will enhance the development and implementation of the Dynamic Learning Maps alternate assessment to the benefit of students in 14 states.”

Leila Williams, associate superintendent with the Arizona Department of Education, has worked closely with Karvonen, lead researcher on a longitudinal study of widely different alternate assessments in three states, including Arizona. Williams praised Karvonen’s ability to take complex data gathered across the states and create reports that provided states useful information and guidance on future development of test content.

“The data analysis and research Meagan performed showed our states where our strengths and weaknesses were in our test items that we currently have in place,” Williams said, adding that she was impressed at Meagan’s research expertise and skills at collaboration, organization, and data analysis. “It was such a positive experience working with Meagan and what we gained from working with her. She has a great understanding of test development and she really sees her work as helping us as states move forward with our alternate assessments.”

Karvonen’s recent publications include a chapter on alternate assessments in the book, “Assessing Students in the Margins: Challenges, Strategies, and Techniques.” She received a Ph.D. in educational psychology and research from the University of South Carolina, a master’s degree in clinical and community psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Alma College.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Vermont has joined the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment Consortium.

It joins the DLM Consortium’s 13 other states: Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“We are happy to join the other DLM states in the development of authentic assessment tools to inform teaching and learning in Vermont," said Armando Vilaseca, Vermont education commissioner. “Collaboration amongst states will increase professional development opportunities for our educators. I am a believer that collaboration, the sharing of best practices and resources, will strengthen our education system.”

DLM is a multi-state initiative led by the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) at the University of Kansas.

The DLM Consortium is developing the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment, a computer-based assessment for the 1% of the K-12 public school student population with significant cognitive disabilities for whom, even with accommodations, general state assessments are not appropriate. Therefore, these students take an alternate assessment.

The DLM assessment system is being designed to support student learning by having assessment tasks model good instruction. Assessment is embedded in teachers’ instruction given throughout the school year in ways that allow the Dynamic Learning Map to help teachers teach better. It will be implemented in the DLM Consortium states during the 2014–2015 school year.

“We welcome Vermont to the DLM Consortium during this exciting time in the history of educational testing,” said Neal Kingston, DLM project director and CETE director. “I fully expect that the addition of Vermont to the Consortium will help ensure we develop a high-quality assessment system that will support student learning and teacher instruction.”

DLM is funded through a five-year-grant awarded in late 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Its $22 million grant award was the largest in KU history at that time. The DLM Consortium is one of two multistate consortia to receive federal grants to create a next-generation alternate assessment linked to Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts for the 1% population.

DLM is led by CETE, a nationally recognized center specializing in large-scale assessment and online test delivery systems. For more than 30 years, CETE has developed cutting-edge testing programs and technology tools, including the Kansas Assessment Program, Dynamic Learning Maps, Kansas Writing Instruction and Education Tool, and Adaptive Reading Motivation Measures.

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