This is not a test! : communication, usability, and gamification in the future of standardized assessment

Rolph, Matthew Gordon James
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Other Contributors
Deery, June
Grice, Roger A.
Kalsher, Michael J.
Sheldon, Lee
Godoy, Carlos G.
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Communication and rhetoric
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The use of standardized tests has increased dramatically in recent years, as has controversy surrounding their current and future roles in educational systems. Standardized academic assessment has been successfully commodified, but, despite controversy, instruments of standardized assessment as products have been sheltered from pressures that transform, improve, and even eliminate many other designs. The fundamental mechanics for standardized assessment have been in place for over a century, and even supporters of specific standardized tests recognize that not everything is working optimally. There will be change. This research examines the question of what forms that change could take which would represent advances and improvements using historical context, contemporary literature and discourse, and relevant theory. Essentially, the problem is one of design that can be addressed by improvements in usability and experience or with alternative designs. The original contributions of this research provide 1) a basis for continuing analysis of standardized assessments as mass communication, and 2) proposals for design solutions to associated usability and experience problems. It describes prototypes, thought experiments, and best practices. It also outlines future work, including an experimental approach to improve metrics based on varying levels of cognitive load using multitasking during item completion.
August 2014
School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Dept. of Communication and Media
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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