October 2007

Version 2 of the ACASE Assessment Information System (AIS), developed through generous funding by the Nordlys Foundation, is up and running. AISv2 is the first educational information system that is designed to analyze data to help teachers easily import and export classroom data, aggregate and disaggregate information, and build customized assessments.

AIS Version 2 features
– the ability to compare performance of students by any desired characteristic (e.g. grade level, socio economic status, competence in mathematics)
– the ability to meaningfully aggregate information numerically and graphically from different levels of an educational system (class, school, school district, state etc.)
– The ability to simultaneously look at performance of groups and individual members of the groups
– The ability to easily import existing classes and student characteristics into the system (this saves teachers the trouble of entering the information manually)
– Easy export of assessment information into statistical packages for further analysis
– Teachers can use the system to build their own learning goals and assessment activities thus customizing the system for local relevance

AIS Version 2 can be examined at: http://scientificinquiry.org.

Why these new features were needed

Existing ‘educational data’ used in federal, state and local planning is almost exclusively comparative test scores. Ranking and grading of this type does not provide the information needed to support or enhance teaching and learning. Moreover this information is misleading when it is used for purposes of accountability. The true and best unit of educational information is information concerning the extent to which students have attained goals for learning. This information can assist decision making when looking at individuals, classes, schools and school districts and when making comparisons between different groups of students. Indeed this information is meaningful and useful even when aggregated at state and national levels.

Version 2 of the ACASE Assessment Information System (AIS), developed through generous funding by the Nordlys Foundation, is the first educational information system that is designed exclusively to work with information of this kind. We believe that the move to educational research, evaluation and planning based on information about the extent to which learning goals are being achieved will bring positive changes into educational programs that are more powerful than other proposed or existing methods of educational reform. This is because other methods of reform base their decisions on information that inherently does not have educational relevance; test scores are the center of these reforms rather than attainment of learning goals.

 
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