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[Feature Focus] Study Island Test Builder

[Feature Focus] Study Island Test Builder

Educators are pretty adept at creating their own assessments, whether by writing questions from scratch in Microsoft Word, borrowing/purchasing tests from another educator or open-source site, or even cutting and pasting questions from paper to “scan together” a completed test. If you’ve explored even one of these test-creation methods, you’ve probably asked yourself some of the following questions:

  • Do I trust this test to cover the skills and standards I need it to in a high-quality way?
  • Are the items written at the correct grade level for my students?
  • Do questions include the vocabulary and item variety students need to be familiar with for end-of-year tests?
  • Do I have time to grade and analyze the results following this test?

Now, consider how many educators do this each week, unit, or semester for multiple subjects or grade levels. The minutes quickly add up! Turning to a digital solution can help you build exit tickets, unit tests, or even standardized interim assessments without the headache. Let’s take a look at the increasingly popular feature in our K–12 assessment, practice, and test-preparation program, Study Island, that will have you confidently answering “yes” to all of the questions above. Study Island Test Builder allows teachers and administrators to easily create, customize, and share unique Built Tests that leverage questions from a pool of over 600,000 high-quality instructional items.

How does Test Builder work?

From the main menu of your Study Island account, you’ll find your Built Test Library. From here, you can create a new test, share your completed Built Tests with others, and assign Built Tests to classes of students.

Build a Fresh Test: By following a simple step-by-step process, you’ll have a test set up in no time. Start by naming your test and adding instructions or words of encouragement for your students. Then, choose from the different programs, subjects, and grade levels available in your account to add questions to your test. As you build, running counts of how many questions are selected from each curriculum area are tabulated, allowing you to carefully cultivate the perfect test.

Select Your Questions: It’s time to decide the actual questions that will appear in your assessment. Test Builder allows you to select from assessment or practice items, filter by item type, and preview question stems before adding them to your test. If you’d like to build a test with purely technology-enhanced items, this flexible tool will give you all the decision-making power to provide students with the practice they need. Additionally, you now have the ability to bypass our question pool altogether and build a test using your own custom material. Our custom material option gives you tools to write or import your own multiple-choice, true/false, or short-answer questions. With this added feature, these questions aren’t just good for practice—they can be utilized in assessments too!

Depth of Knowledge Filter: A more recent update to Study Island’s Test Builder is the Depth of Knowledge filter. This filter allows you to choose from questions that are only from the specific levels available.

Share the Test: Do you plan language arts for the entire grade level? Build a test once, then share it with your grade-level team. Or, maybe you’re a testing or curriculum director who wants to build tests on a district scale and then share them with all buildings. You can do that too.

Assign Built Tests: You can build your tests months in advance or on the spot—just assign them when you’re ready. To assign a Built Test, you first need to have classes created. From there, you can choose a whole class, several classes, or even a subset of students within a class to complete your Built Test. Determine how long you want the testing window to be open, and save your work—all set!

Want to see how students performed on your assessments? Using Built Test Reports, you can view individual student results and a breakdown of scores by topic. Then, dig one step further using item analysis to determine how students performed on each question. Students can also review their own results immediately after turning in a test. And, if it makes sense for the way you run your classroom, you can give your students the ability to review their missed questions too.

How can I use Test Builder in my classroom?

While this feature does include ‘test’ in the name, it’s a lot more than that. Test Builder is also designed to help you craft unique assignments, inform targeted instruction, and prepare students for end-of-year summative tests.

Craft Unique Assignments: Perhaps one of the most-loved aspects of Test Builder is the ability to decide exactly what questions students will see. For that reason, this feature is often used to create assignments and exit tickets with just the right number of questions and variety of item types you want. With the ability to build tests from multiple subjects and grade levels, you can even use Test Builder to design your own benchmarks or differentiated exams throughout the school year.

Inform Targeted Instruction: Tests are about a lot more than a score in a gradebook; their power lies in using the data they yield to determine next steps for meaningful instruction. When you build tests that include a variety of items over the specific skill you just taught, you can see who is ready to move on and who might need additional intervention, and you can determine if reteaching across the board is needed. There’s a reason teaching and learning go hand in hand—Built Tests can help you take the guesswork out of determining if students understand and can let students show you what they know.

Create Common Assessments: This is an excellent tool to reduce the amount of time and work associated with creating and administering high-quality common assessments. Teachers don't have to write their own questions; they can choose from a bank of over 600,000 unique items that are created from Common Core and individual state standards and aligned to state summative assessments. Using Study Island, teacher teams can take a task that once required several hours and many different resources and complete it much more quickly and easily. Read more about using Test Builder for common assessments.

Prepare for End-of-Year Summative Tests: Many next-generation state assessments are now online, and they include a variety of different technology-enhanced item types. Give your students a chance to practice navigating online environments, use online tools to implement question strategies, and answer more complex items that promote higher-order thinking and inquiry.

For additional help on getting started in Test Builder, use the Help Center button in Study Island. 

This post was originally published on October 30, 2017.

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