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Assessing complex patterns of student resources and behavior in the large scale
Neumann, K., Schecker, H., Theyßen, H.

Assessing complex patterns of student resources and behavior in the large scale

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 683(1), 233-249. DOI: 10.1177/0002716219844963, Open Access

Large-scale assessments still focus on those aspects of students’ competence that can be evaluated using paper-and-pencil tests (or computer-administered versions thereof). Performance tests are considered costly due to administration and scoring, and, more importantly, they are limited in reliability and validity. In this article, we demonstrate how a sociocognitive perspective provides an understanding of these issues and how, based on this understanding, an argument-based approach to assessment design, interpretation, and use can help to develop comprehensive, yet reliable and valid, performance-based assessments of student competence. More specifically, we describe the development of a computer-administered, simulation-based assessment that can reliably and validly assess students’ competence to plan, perform, and analyze physics experiments at a large scale. Data from multiple validation studies support the potential of adopting a sociocognitive perspective and assessments based on an argument-based approach to design, interpretation, and use. We conclude by discussing the potential of simulations and automated scoring methods for reliable and valid performance-based assessments of student competence.