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Assessing Proficiency

Student Comprehension of the Common Core Standards

DreamBox Assessment Engine for CCSS


On the DreamBox Common Core State Standards report, how is proficiency evaluated?


First grade Common Core State Standard: 1.NBT.3 Compare two two-digit numbers based on meanings of the tens and ones digits, recording the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, and <. 1.NBT.3 is a critical early understanding. Students who are proficient in this standard understand that place value can be used to compare numbers under 100 and that symbols can be used to represent these comparisons. However, student understanding of and proficiency in this standard is often difficult to measure and assess in first graders in a meaningful, valid way.

Demonstrated Evidence of Understanding

In DreamBox, for a student to be marked Proficient in the first grade Common Core State Standard: 1.NBT.3, she must correctly answer problems across 31 unique, measurable learning objectives that provide evidence of understanding. Students do not encounter these 31 objectives in a strict, linear sequence but instead answer problems within these objectives across multiple lessons and amid other lessons aligned with different Common Core Standards. Not only does this approach allow our adaptive engine to be more responsive to each student, it also ensures we have longitudinal data confirming the student’s proficiency in multiple lessons and using a variety of our virtual manipulatives.

Assessment Personalized to Each Student’s Needs

In order to intelligently adapt for each learner, DreamBox does not give students a defined number of problems for each of the 31 objectives. Instead, DreamBox curriculum designers program the learning engine to present students with a range of problem set sizes for each objective. Imagine how a teacher working one-on-one with a student is able to watch her solve a few problems and then determine how many more problems she should complete to prove proficiency. In the same way, DreamBox Learning analyzes how accurately and quickly students answer problems and then adjusts the number of problems they must solve to achieve proficiency.

Over 150 Problems Assessed for a Single Standard

To assess most of these 31 distinct, measurable learning objectives for 1.NBT.3, DreamBox presents students with a range of 6 to 12 problems. Therefore, on average students will answer at least 150 problems aligned with this single Common Core State Standard. Students who need more time, hints, or scaffolded support within the DreamBox Learning environment may need to answer as many as 300 problems aligned with 1.NBT.3. Though a test with 150 items would be daunting for a student in any grade, our engaging learning environment ensures students answer this minimum number of problems without feeling like they’ve even taken a test. Plus, these problems are presented to students within an instructive lesson rather than simply in a practice mode. Therefore, DreamBox provides scaffolded support along the way, and uses the assessment data formatively

Independent Accuracy Demonstrated Consistently

Finally, instead of establishing a traditional “percentage correct” threshold within each of the 31 objectives or across the 150 to 300 problems, our Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ engine is designed to emulate how teachers would assess a student in a one-on-one setting. Therefore, a student is considered proficient in each of the 31 objectives when she correctly answers several problems in a row quickly and without any assistance. Once a student has performed in this way in each of the 31 objectives, she is marked Proficient in 1.NBT.3. These same proficiency guidelines apply to reporting student progress on every Common Core State Standard with which DreamBox is aligned. While the number of measurable objectives and problems varies from standard to standard, our Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ design is consistent.

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