BEST Plus 3.0: New item types to reflect greater academic rigor in adult education

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Presented at: AAAL 2021 Virtual Conference

On Demand Webinar

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Presenters: Kristine Nugent, Elyssa Sun

Description: Adult education programs nowadays are facing a call for increased rigor in their curriculum and assessments, particularly following the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (2014). The purpose of this poster presentation is to explain the increased rigor in the NRS levels and how BEST Plus 3.0 has integrated these changes into new item types.

This poster will present the design of new item types for BEST Plus 3.0, an oral English proficiency assessment for adults, that reflect the increased rigor of the National Reporting System (NRS) level descriptors released in December 2017. Through an examination of the NRS level descriptors, viewing sample test items, and discussion, viewers will learn about the implications of the new NRS level descriptors for adult education and assessment in the US.

The poster will engage viewers in interpreting and defining what is intended in the revised NRS levels and understanding their implementation in oral assessments. The test design of BEST Plus 3.0 and new item types that align to these revised levels will also be presented. The poster presentation will address the following questions: How do the items in BEST Plus 3.0 align with the more challenging NRS levels 5 and 6? What are the expected examinee responses for those test items? How do the categories in the rubric reflect the demands of the new standards and differentiate examinees’ proficiency? Finally, the presenters will reflect on the challenges of updating an existing speaking assessment to align to revised standards.