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Computerized Adaptive Assessment (CAA): The Way Forward


"There is little doubt that computer technology will continue to be used in an educational context. It is more a matter of when and how computers will be used for assessment rather than if. It is important to note, however, that the merger of computers and assessment does not have to be adaptive. There are already many computerized tests that are either fixed tests that have been transferred to computer or tests that are random selections of items from an item pool. These are viable intermediate steps between traditional paper-and-pencil and fully adaptive tests. Simple computerized tests of these types require the development of data systems and provisions to ensure the necessary number of computers, but they sidestep the psychometric complexities of adaptive testing. Of course, they sacrifice the advantages of CAAs as well. The purpose of making this point is not to discourage the development of CAAs, but rather it is to show that the full implementation can be phased in through stages of development."