Digital Interactive Assessment: Studying the affordances and the effects of innovative design of mathematical tasks

Digital interactive assessment tasks form a new and as yet largely unexplored domain. In this research project we focus on practices associated with eAssesment design and center on the functions of a multimodal text that consists of multiple representations, interactive tools and diagrams. The main assumption underlying our project is that solution stages and reasoning processes are to form a central part of the eAssessment; this task is especially challenging when the submitted work is to be checked by computer. Thus, the major objective of the research is to design a prototype eAssessment system that will enable us to explore the challenges and the affordances of innovative tasks’ designs to support faithful interpretation of students’ work on rich mathematical tasks from computerized records (in the context of functions and calculus).

Each assessment task will be structured upon three parts of the requested responses: experimentation, answering and justifying. Each of the three parts will be designed as multimodal text that is based on mathematical tools that can be assumed to be part of “common knowledge” of youngsters, tools that had been used and tested or public domain tools that will be redesigned to be aligned with the goals of the study (e.g. restricted graphic calculator, linked multiple representation, direct access manipulations, dragging, animation tools or restricted symbol manipulators). To successfully approach this challenge we aim to study the nature of mathematical tools participating at three phases of solving an assessment item, employing design research methods consisting of three cycles of design experiments with small and middle size samples.

The significance of our research project stems directly from the innovative focus it represents on the tools we will have designed for the triple-structure tasks, the prototypical assessment platform that the tasks would be integrated in and the cycles of design experiments we will have generated. By offering a model platform for studies of students' problem-solving methods and by identifying and defining relevant components that can be assessed throughout non interpretive computerized procedures, our outcomes will form a crucial contribution to current efforts world-wide to arrive at the computerized assessment of evaluating complex reasoning.