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The Psychometrics Centre

Cambridge Judge Business School

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Computer adaptive version of NESA Literacy and Numeracy tests

The New South Wales Education Standards Agency (NESA) uses Concerto to administer computer-adaptive literacy and numeracy testing to 7,000 16-18 year old high school students per year.

In 2014 Cambridge University Psychometrics Centre worked with NESA (formerly BOSTES, the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards) to use Concerto to trial a computer-adaptive version of its RoSA literacy and numeracy tests in 3 schools across New South Wales with about 200 students. The trial showed that the formerly 120 question test taking 120 minutes could be reduced to an average of 47 questions taking 40 minutes by using the computer-adaptive question selection algorithm.

Next year, the Psychometrics Centre worked with NESA to roll out the test to all students taking the RoSA literacy and numeracy test. NESA already had existing test items, so they were added to the platform. Additionally, instead of two testing sessions at fixed points in the year, the Concerto test was provided on an on-demand basis to be taken by students at any point during the school year. Teachers recommend a student to NESA, and then the student is given an account to take the test at any point during the next weeks.

Concerto calculates scores and so students receive immediate provisional results on the screen at the end of the test. Concerto was also integrated with the NESA student administration system, so that students then receive their final scores by email from NESA within 24 hours.

NESA continued to use Concerto for the RoSA tests in subsequent years. In 2016 NESA started a pilot of a new literacy and numeracy gamified test for primary school children. The gamified test has a fun graphical interface that runs on tablets or PC, but still has the power of Concerto’s advanced testing and feedback calculation algorithms behind the scenes.

Further information regarding this collaboration is available here. Screenshots from NESA/BOSTES tests can be seen below:

Adaptive literacy and numeracy assessment using Concerto


Gamified assessment for primary school children using Concerto