Rating Portfolio Assessments for K-12 Students

The Assessment Improvement Project


The purpose of this project is to use data science to grade K-12 students' writing portfolios so students, educators, and parents can get a holistic idea of the student's capabilities.

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Volunteers are working on this project

Background and Motivation

The Assessment Improvement Project is a new organization in Texas that seeks to create free "authentic assessments". Standardized testing is the engine of the U.S. education system and it does a poor job of assessing students' abilities. The No Child Left behind Act started a movement towards High-Stakes testing in k-12 education. The problem is that most of the data is not clean because it is based on biased and narrow assessments. The point of an assessment should be the get an "authentic" view of a student's capabilities which is difficult to accomplish in one day. The largest obstacle in this project is the cost and time of grading each writing submission. Data science could address both of these problems and provide a path towards the adoption of state-wide portfolio assessments.

Project Description

There are about 3.5 million in each grade and rating each submission is a massive undertaking. The rating scale is from 1-5 and we hope to grade each sample for conventions, organization, and development of ideas. Each student's scores should be able to consolidate into one final holistic score that measures progress and individual sample rating. If we can solve this question it will open a feasible path towards administering a statewide portfolio assessment.

Intended Impact

Covid exposed major weaknesses in the education system and not addressing these will have disastrous consequences. The current structure is not set up for students to learn "real world" skills because schools are pressured to focus on standardized testing. The success of this project would have an immense impact on the education system because it allows students to demonstrate their capabilities multiple times a year. The inclusion of progress into the rating will greatly reduce economic and racial bias in testing. Teachers will have a better idea of where their students are at throughout the year which will allow them to focus on teaching rather than data collection. The current organizations that produce these assessments have a stronghold on the testing market and don't have a strong incentive to change. Our organization is looking to privately fund our projects so we can license the assessment to districts for free. The success of this project will allow for a cost-effective alternative that has a chance to replace the current tests.

Internal Stakeholders

Vaman Amble- Executive Director (vaman.amble@assessmentproject.org) Eleyna Ogg- Marketing Director (eleyna.ogg@assessmentproject.org) Kerry Gain- Education Consultant Jill Williams- Education Consultant

Internal People Available During the Project

Vaman Amble (vaman.amble@assessmentproject.org) Eleyna Ogg Kerry Gain

Start date: June 14, 2021
End date: Sept. 30, 2021

Project tasks

Project scoping 2