Current Projects

Validity and Research Studies on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS)

Since 1998 when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts introduced state-wide testing of students as part of the Educational Reform Act of 1993, the Center for Educational Assessment has been assisting the Massachusetts Department of Education by conducting validity and research studies on the MCAS. The Center has carried out studies to determine the level of bias in the test items and scoring, investigated the validity of the state's approaches for insuring comparability of scores over consecutive years, compared student performance on the MCAS with their performance on external indicators of achievement such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the SAT, advised the state on technical aspects of their testing program (on topics such as setting passing scores, alternate assessments, and preparation of technical manuals), and studied the extent to which the MCAS tests are consistent with the content frameworks used in instruction across the state. The collaboration with the state has resulted in national publications, reports, and presentations, and in addition, has provided valuable training opportunities for graduate students in the Center for Educational Measurement. The Center is very proud of its close association with the Massachusetts Department of Education regarding educational reform.

More info about MCAS can be found at the Massachusetts Department of Education's MCAS page.

Developing New Tests for Adult Basic Education in Massachusetts

Since January of 2003, the Center for Educational Assessment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Education's Office of Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS) to develop achievement tests in math and reading that are appropriate for adult learners in Massachusetts. Our collaborative vision in creating these tests involved ensuring the tests are (a) aligned with the curriculum frameworks established by ACLS and the adult basic education (ABE) community in Massachusetts, (b) consistent with the instruction in ABE classrooms as directed by these frameworks, and (c) developed with comprehensive input from teachers and administrators from the ABE community in Massachusetts. Other activities completed as part of this contract include the preparation of guidelines and instruments to assist with program monitoring and developing additional writing prompts for an extant writing assessment.

To learn more about ACLS and what's going on with the Massachusetts Adult Proficiency Tests (MAPT), browse the Massachusetts Adult and Community Learning Services website.

Assessment Practices and Training in Indonesia

The Center for Educational Assessment will be working with Professor James M. Royer of the UMass Psychology Department on a USAID project involved in enhancing the educational assessment skills in Indonesia. The goal of the project is to increase Indonesia's capacity in educational assessment expertise as part of their national educational improvement efforts. The project will entail training a selected group of Indonesians visiting UMass in advanced assessment topics. Professor Craig Wells from the Center will be directing the measurement training component for the project and he will be assisted by Professors Hambleton and Sireci, and several graduate students. In addition, Craig Wells will travel to Indonesia in the summer of 2007 to prepare instructional modules and training development.

General information about USAID programs can be found online at the main USAID site.

Updated: March 27, 2007.

Copyright 2003 Research and Evaluation Methods Program, University of Massachusetts Amherst,
152 Hills South, Amherst, Massachusetts, 01003. (413) 545-0262.

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