[Edu-sig] Computer-Adaptive Test of Python

damon bryant damonbryant at msn.com
Thu Mar 3 17:36:03 CET 2005

Is anyone interested in making a computer-adaptive test of the Python programming language for use in education?

I have conducted research at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton (New Jersey, USA) on computer-adaptive testing. Being totally new to programming, I was able to learn the language in about 2 months and used Python to complete my dissertation (i.e., presenting the proposal, conducting the research, writing up the results, and orally defending the dissertation) in about six months! After using Python for about a year, I am convinced that the language will have lots of application in education and industry. However, I have not found any web-based tests for industry or education on the open-source language.   

Because science will soon become a mandatory part of K-12 assessment in all US states, I would like to assist in positioning Python as a first computer science language to be taught in middle and high school by providing standard assessments to support the teaching of the language. If an assessment is provided online where teachers or proctors can register and log in students at a website, students can take the test and teachers will be provided feedback immediately about student's performance in different content areas (e.g., functions, exceptions, inheritance, lists, dictionaries, strings, and other OO concepts). This ultimately gives teachers more time to teach and allows student to receive questions that are appropriate for their ability: paper and pencil tests with fixed content or randomized content fails in this regard. In addition, the time it takes to grade tests in the traditional classroom sense is a day or two; this time is reduced to the time it takes to check your e-mail.  

To experiment with the concept of having an online computer-adaptive test, I developed a site, https://adaptivetestingservices.net/sign_in.html . It is by no means complete, but it is functional to get an idea of the possibility (Note: I'm a newbie in CS so forgive me if the are some errors.) The site allows you to register an examinee, and automatically sends a username and password to the provided email address. Once the user enters the site, he/she can take a sample demo of president and US currency knowledge (simple content to demonstrate). In operation, the item pool would be much larger and the item parameters would be calibrated. The ability estimate is shown at the bottom right with the error in the estimate under it; this will be removed in operation. Imagine Python content! If anyone is interested either post a message or send me an e-mail at damon_bryant2004 at yahoo.com. By the way, the entire site is HTML and Python!  



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