Principled Assessment Designs for Inquiry (PADI)

Collaborating Institutions: 
University of Maryland, University of Michigan, SRI

University of Maryland Participants: 
Bob Mislevy

University of Michigan Participants: 
Nancy Butler-Songer

SRI Participants: 
Geneva Haertel

The overarching purpose of the PADI project is to provide a practical framework for designing assessments of science inquiry skills. The framework is grounded in recent developments in cognitive psychology, research on science inquiry, and advances in measurement theory and technology.

Project objectives include:

  1. articulation of a conceptual framework for designing, delivering, and scoring complex assessment tasks that can be used to assess inquiry skills in science;
  2. providing templates and related resources to assist curriculum designers in developing assessments in the same conceptual framework;
  3. defining system requirements for an assessment delivery and performance evaluation system; and
  4. providing a digital library of working exemplars including a sample assessment application.

The BEAR team is working primarily on developing new methods of psychometric modeling to reflect the cognitive structures theorized by curriculum developers. This involves creation of software that integrates with external assessment databases for initial model testing and calibration plus ongoing dynamic estimation of student proficiencies. A primary challenge faced by the BEAR team is to provide a seamless integration of the measurement components to the data gathering and presentation components developed by the other teams. System developers will follow emerging guidelines for educational technology standards to help ensure portability of the system. Our goal is to provide useful interpretations of student learning and performance tailored to specific cognitive theories underlying diverse curricula development efforts.