Technology has done an amazing job of improving many industries. It is quickly becoming an important aspect of education as well.

One of the ways that the educational system uses technology to make improvements and create an educational system that is effective is through computer-adaptive testing.

What Is Computer-Adaptive Testing

Computer-adaptive testing is testing that adapts to the test taker. It will present questions based on answers the test-taker gives on previous questions during the test. It enables the material to match the person taking the assessment to provide a situation where whoever is administering the test can see the abilities of the test-taker in a true way.

This differs from a standard type of test. A standard test has set questions. Everyone will take the exact same test. CATs give students tests that match their abilities. Each test is different because it adapts to the student as the student takes the test. A good example of this type of test is thei-Ready test.

Benefits of CATs

There are many options when it comes to administering CATs. Educators may use them in a variety of subjects, such as thei-Ready math and reading tests. In whatever subject, this type of testing offers many benefits.

Increase Accuracy

CATs provide highly accurate assessments of abilities. Because they adapt, the test will show what a student can do instead of only showing what he or she cannot do. It gives a clearer picture of what a student knows and allows for a deeper understanding of where a student is lacking in his or her knowledge.

Eliminate Traditional Problems

Beyond just the educational benefits, CATs also tackle some common issues with test-taking. Since every test is different, it greatly reduces the ability to cheat, this giving a truer look at the student’s knowledge.

CATs also reduce preparation on the part of teachers. The whole test is computerized and created by the computer program. The teacher can mainly be hands-off. The tests even grade themselves, which takes a lot of the stress off of teachers who can then focus solely on the information gained from the assessment and planning how to use that moving forward.

Challenge students

CATs also challenge students more than standard tests. Because of their adaptive nature, these tests will increase or decrease the difficulty of the test based on the student. So, those students who are more advanced will get a test that will match their abilities and make them work for a good grade.

Those who may be working below grade level will also feel more accomplished. This type of testing will allow them to get questions that may challenge them but that are not too far above their level. This can help prevent students from feeling discouraged or giving up because they do not know the material or understand the test questions.

CATs also allow higher-level students to not waste time on questions that are too simple, and lower-level students are not spending time on a question they cannot answer. Every student gets questions on their level that will produce usable results to assess their abilities. 

Allow for Individualized Education

ASCD explains that one of the best things about CATs is that theyallow for individualized education. They help move beyond the one-size-fits-all approach that often does not work. Instead, students can get an education at their personal level.

This can bleed over into the classroom. Teachers can take assessments and use them to shape lessons and develop teaching methods that work for every student in the room instead of just a small percentage of students.

CATs Are Effective

This type of testing is the wave of the future. It has so many benefits for students, teachers, and the educational system. It is likely that many schools will begin using it in the near future if they are not already.

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