Computer adaptive assessments are all the rage. They are supposed to be not only cost effective but they allegedly are objective and standardize grading. Also, and not incidentally, they are big business in an age of mass testing.

The idea behind them is that the student answers a question (picks a bubble), and if it is the right answer, gets a question that is slightly harder. If the answer is wrong, the next question is slightly easier. In this way, the computer soon figures out what the student’s level of competence is. Watch for the next round of computer assessments that score student essays. Expect an end to imaginative writing as computers are not programmed to understand what they have never before encountered.

This parent explains why her daughter doesn’t like computer adaptive assessments and how she copes with them. It appears that her daughter has never taken a test that asked her to show what she knows, just to pick the right bubble.


My kid doesn’t like online adaptive assessments. She likes knowing there are 50 questions in 40 minutes.  She hates tests that give you many more difficult questions when you answer correctly. The test seems to go on forever.

So, one time she decided to hit buttons randomly and get a bunch wrong. Then the computer spit out fewer, easier questions, and she was able to finish the test at last.