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State of Oregon Automates the Statewide Educational Assessment System

In 1996, the State of Oregon set standards for student learning, giving teachers and students a common goal. To measure student progress toward these standards, the Oregon Educational Act for the 21st Century introduced a three-part assessment system. The three tools of this system are:

  • State knowledge and skills tests;
  • State performance assessments; and
  • Classroom work samples.

In 2004, to comply with statutorily and federal requirements, Department of Education rolled out an initiative to automate its assessment development and management business processes. The State of Oregon leveraged Altoros’s product engineering and Quality Assurance expertise to develop the Statewide Assessment Systems and reduce assessment development cycle times and improve employee productivity.

By 2005, the State of Oregon developed a complex Assessment System. The State employed approximately 50 people on assessment design, .NET development, content management and implementation.

The process of creating and implementing assessment consisted out of more then 120 procedures, when only 20 procedures were automated. As a result, assessments took 6-12 months to develop. The State of Oregon did not have the tools which could help shorten assessment development cycles.

In early 2005, the State of Oregon has awarded Altoros a 12-months contract to provide a turn-key solution to facilitate assessment life cycle across multiple assessment subject areas ranging from Mathematics to Reading, to English to Social Science.

Altoros faced several challenges prior and during the award of the long-term contract:

  • the State of Oregon had no formal requirements for the new system
  • Existing descriptions of business processes across four test subject areas differed from each other
  • Different stakeholders in the Office of Assessment had different approach to test development and management
  • The new Statewide Assessment System was due in less then 12 months.
  • the State of Oregon wanted Altoros to provide approximately 40% of all services on-site (Requirements Analysis, Quality Assurance and Testing services)

A team of engineers, business analyst and a project manager worked from offices of Department of Education in Salem, Oregon, and Altoros’s offices in Western Massachusetts and Eastern Europe.

Microsoft SQL Server 2000, .NET, and Microsoft Office 2003 were selected to address the customer need. The Assessment System is composed of five modular client-server applications for entering, reviewing, printing, revising or editing items, constructing test forms, tracking item status, and managing item banks. Major capabilities of the Assessment System include:

  • Test Management
  • Wizards to develop tests across four subject areas
  • Item Management
  • Image Management
  • Integration with Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office 2003
  • Data export into CSV, MS Word and MS Excel data formats
  • Test development Reports
  • Identity Management
  • System Access Reports

The solution helped the State of Oregon drastically improve employee productivity and reduce assessment development costs by 30%. By automating the entire assessment lifecycle, Altoros enabled State of Oregon to implement the Assessment System at over 1,200 schools in less then 18 months. In particular:

  • The new system enabled the State of Oregon to accurately evaluate the quantity and quality of the assessment results in a systemic format
  • The Content Specialists utilize Assessment System to store and track items across the entire test development life cycle
  • The test item calibration process became much more efficient, traceable, and accurate
  • Altoros introduced single instance of items/versions, along with centralized housing of data, should generate efficiencies in processes
  • The Assessment Administrators utilize the system to facilitate decision-making around resource allocation and testing/item generation requirements
  • Calibration process became efficient, traceable, and accurate
  • Central housing allows multi-mode test generation (web and print) without a duplication of processes
  • Test development process became much easier and resulted in cost reductions and the ability to refocus resources on core activities

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