Thursday, May 6, 2010

Three Multiple-Choice Games

Three multiple-choice games can be played on the same field. Each has its own rules for scoring and grading. [YouTube]

The 2009 Arkansas Algebra I (AAI) end-of-course test has the game field designed with 100 points, the same number as yards on a football field. The field slopes from a swamp down at the left end were the guessers play up to dry land were the 100% goal posts stand.

The number of answer options for each multiple-choice question controls the difficulty of play related to luck. The more options per question, the more skilled the players must be to win and the fewer lucky winners. Anyone can play when right mark scoring (RMS) is used: students, employees, and animals (the target of the original complete multiple-choice test that included omit).

The Arkansas Uniform Grading Scale rules set the letter grades of D to A at 60 to 90 for traditional right mark scoring  (RMS) on classroom tests. The static starting score is set to zero. The hidden active starting score is 25, on average.
The Arkansas Algebra I (AAI) end-of-course test replaces 40 multiple-choice with five 8-point open response questions. The hidden active starting score is reduced from 20 to 15, on average. The test is now ten points, or one letter grade, more difficult. A student cannot pass the test by guessing.
The active starting score, the lucky score, is hidden at the left end of the playing field in the foggy swamp where the guessers play among the lucky-score trees. The traditional classroom game starts here with lower order thinking skills. Students are encouraged to guess from 5, 4, 3, or 2 options. Only right marks count as blank and omit have no value with RMS.

Confidence Based Learning (CBL) only plays on dry ground near the goal posts. It uses 3-option questions. It starts play at the 75% (25-yard) line for good judgment, far away from the swamp of shady scores. Mastery players receive points for both knowledge and their skillful to use their knowledge (their judgment). They attempt to reach the 100% goal posts. They make few, if any, wrong marks.

Knowledge and Judgment Scoring (KJS) starts play at the 50% (50-yard) line for good judgment. Students functioning at lower levels of thinking can mark every question (which may put them back in the swamp with RMS). Students and employees functioning at higher (all) levels of thinking use the test to report what they trust. Their goal is to make the highest number of right marks with the fewest number, if any, of wrong marks. [YouTube]

A universal score board sums the rules for the three methods of scoring. Scoring is compared in passive, static, mode after the test is finished; and in active, dynamic, mode during the test. Scoring for KJS and CBL are usually expressed in the active, dynamic, mode as the scoring starts with the value given to perfect judgment, 50% or 75% (no wrong marks have been made at the start of the test).

Scoring for RMS is usually expressed in the passive, static, mode after the test paper has been turned in. This allows resetting the starting score (and the value of judgment) to zero. This has deceptive consequences. Students like the apparent “no risk” feature. They also like the help from lucky marks. What they do not realize is that every wrong mark reduces their lucky score.

Changing from RMS to KJS or CBL is about the same as changing from a tricycle to a bicycle. It is changing from external control and correction to internal control and self-correction; from linear, low order, thinking to include high order, cyclical, thinking.  It takes practice; about three experiences.

It is scary to do something new. Who ever heard of getting one point for a right mark and one point for the good judgment to not make a wrong mark (omit)? It is done on every essay test where students report what they know and trust, and omit what they have yet to learn.

Students quickly like KJS as it saves them time not having to come up with “the best answer” to a question they cannot read or understand. They like to see the quality score confirm what they trust; what they really know and can build on.

They like the freedom to customize the multiple-choice test to match their preparation (a 90% quality score), as they do on most other assessments. This is effective formative assessment as students learn to question, to answer, and to confirm as they are learning in preparation for assessment. They are in charge as they develop from passive pupil to self-motivated high achiever.

Teachers benefit too. KJS and CBL differentiate misconceptions, where students think they know the answer but do not, from just guessing on difficult questions. Students are sorted by their level of thinking (teachable level), as well as, by what they know. Each student presents a quantity, a quality, and a test score. You have accurate, honest and fair numbers to support you classroom observations.

Since the three methods of scoring are based on different skills, the Universal Cut Point Raw Score Grade Equalizer or other methods can be used to assign grades (2009 Arkansas End-of-Course Raw to Scale Score Conversion Table and State Law).

All three methods produce the same raw score when examinees fail to exercise good judgment and mark all questions in hope of getting a lucky passing score. An accurate and honest performance produces the highest score, on average.

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