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The App-Based Assessment: "Monster P.I."

Monster, P.I. is an app-based, gamified diagnostic assessment that measures written language skills (knowledge of morphology, vocabulary, and syntax) of 5th to 8th graders and provides teachers with interpretable score reports to drive instruction that improves vocabulary, reading, and writing abilities. Linked to common core language and reading standards, the app features a mischievous monster who is wreaking havoc on different areas of our city, including a school, museum, library, sports arena, and amusement park. Students have to solve word puzzles to earn clues to identify and catch the monster, saving our city!

Developed using web technologies and responsive design patterns, Monster, P.I. is supported on browsers and native mobile platforms. Also, locally saved scores are synced remotely, allowing for use in offline and low-connectivity classroom environments. The iPad-based system let us administer and score many assessments quickly, while also offering a format for students to spell, choose answers, and hear audio pronunciation of words.

The Study - 4 year development of Monster, PI

In year 1 of the study (2015-16), we developed a library of items in ten tasks and piloted the assessment with over 500 students in three middle schools.

In year 2 of the study (2016-17), we selected and refined items based on the results from year 1, improved the engagement features of the assessment itself, and took the refined version of the assessment out to over 1000 students.

In year 3 of the study (2017-18), our assessment became computer-adaptive – that is, it was able to respond to students' ability levels and give them questions at their ability level. This lets us more precisely specify their skills.

In year 4, we updated the computer adaptive assessment using data from students’ performance on additional items piloted in year 3, and worked with teachers to refine our teacher reports and linked instructional materials.

And now, our app is ready for you to use!