Renaissance Launches Online Testing Platform
In an effort to solve what it calls the two biggest problems with benchmark assessments on standardized tests, Renaissance Learning has introduced Star Standards testing platform. The package includes the Star Reading, Star Math, and Star Early Literacy adaptive tests, all currently in use, with additional items to test common core and state-specific standards.
The new platform offers two key features designed to improve overall testing: reduced testing time and more sophisticated reporting. Internal research has shown the Star "hybrid computer adaptive approach" reduces average testing for typical benchmark assessments to between 8 and 20 minutes for reading and between 12 and 25 minutes for math, as compared with an average of 50 to 80 minutes for more traditional platforms.
The information available to teachers and administrators through the system include reports on student, class, grade, school, and district data for all covered material, testing levels, and demographics. The system also provides national norm scores, including grade equivalent, percentile, and NCE.
For the long term, RLI hopes the Star testing platform will play an integral role in helping states improve and streamline their educational standards in what promises to be an era of growing reform. Because the platform addresses the most widely used benchmark assessments, defined as those administered three or more times a year to help educators understand student performance in order to improve results, the company is confident Star System can be an important component in both school and statewide efforts at standards compliance.
A spokesperson for RLI said that several states are at work on revising and refining state standards, and that the company is interested in working with individual states and consortia of states to develop these standards and create or adapt its testing modules to conform once the standards have been approved by each state.
Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.