alea.schule: Platform for formative assessment

This project aims to illustrate how general-purpose assessment software (the CBA ItemBuilder) can be integrated into a platform to utilize the benefits of computer-based assessment in educational practice by providing timely and meaningful feedback for improving instructions and fostering learning.

Assessment and learning are closely related since, on the one hand, effective instructions for learning always require a sound diagnosis of the existing learning conditions. On the other hand, the learning content defines what has to be assessed. Computer-based assessment can be precious by allowing instant feedback to teachers and students, for instance, in formative assessment contexts.

Project description

Assessment instruments that have been developed, for instance, in research projects in alignment with scientifical and empirical findings, can also provide meaningful information for learning purposes in educational practice (transfer), for instance, by employing feedback for learners or teachers. The value can be enhanced by using computer-based innovative and interactive tasks (technology-enhanced items) that can provide additional insights into test-taking processes and allow immediate feedback.

Implementing tasks for computer-based assessments require a deep understanding of diagnostic requirements, careful user interface design and a precise understanding of measurement goals admitting also to technological constraints of devices used for assessments. Moreover, for successful research-practice-transfer individual and institutional constraints need to be acknowledged.

In this project, the CBA ItemBuilder is used to computerize diagnostic tasks that are already used in a paper-pen-format in educational contexts to research how the benefits of formative assessment, as well as the teachers’ acceptance of using diagnostic tools, can be enhanced by digitalization. Short tests with aligned feedback and support material for Mathematics teachers (Mastering Math) developed by a team of Mathematics educational experts and available as Open Educational Resources (OER) are converted for browser-based online assessments. In addition, a corresponding “Alea | Teacher App” is developed as a management tool to prepare assessments and as a dashboard for showing results, feedback, and precise support to create subsequent learning situations.

Design-based research approaches and analysis of data generated when using the platform in education practice are used to improve usability (for students and teachers) and the value of feedback provided to teachers. Specific emphasis in these research cycles is on the following aspects: (a) optimizing the integration of the app into teacher’s workflows at school, (b) the use of machine learning and natural language processing to lower the burden for coding open-ended responses and to increase the time teacher can spend in interpreting the feedback, (c) the use of innovative technology-enhanced interaction types embedded into the CBA ItemBuilder to foster engagement and to increase the validity of responses, (d) the use of log data and process indicators to improve the interpretation of formative assessments, and (e) the transparency of digitally-based assessments, for instance, by providing teachers the possibility to review student’s responses as part of the teacher dashboard.


Funding: External funding

Co-operation: Prof. Dr. Susanne Prediger (DZLM, TU Dortmund) und Team (Dr. Corinna Hankeln, Sebastian Gross, Lea Voss), check here for more information on „Mathe sicher können – Online-Check“.

Duration: 2022 - 2026

Status: running

Project team (DIPF): PD Dr. Ulf Kröhne, Christina Röper, Felix Wagner, Tobias Deribo

Contact: PD Dr. Ulf Kröhne (Projektleitung)

Further Links: https://www.alea.schule