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The Assessment Corner: FOSSmap 2.0 is here!

Kathy Long, FOSS Assessment Coordinator, Lawrence Hall of Science
May 01, 2019 | Assessment

The FOSS team is excited to announce FOSSmap 2.0. We have been working with Delta Education and LinkIt! for over a year to make this dream come true. LinkIt! is an established online assessment provider that is customizing their system to help us bring you a new and improved online assessment system for FOSS. For those of you who have used FOSSmap through the "proof of concept years," we think that you will be very pleased with the new system.

Unlike previous versions, to use the new FOSSmap system, you first set up a class page on FOSSweb (the main FOSS website), giving each student a unique email-formatted login and unique password. The good news about this, is that students will use this unique login and password all year long—you no longer have to generate new access codes every time the class starts a new module.

There are three main actions that teachers will use in FOSSmap: assigning online tests, coding the items that need manual coding, and accessing progress reports. To start any of these actions, teachers login to FOSSweb, then go to their module detail page and click on FOSSmap to enter the online system. Teachers will use the online testing portal for all of the first two procedures. When assigning online tests, teachers can also preview the items, even take them as if they were a student, but the system will not record any data. Once an assessment is assigned, it remains open until all students have completed it or the teacher closes the access.

When students take the tests, they will encounter several different formats of items. There are the traditional multiple-choice, and multiple-answer items (often drag and drop), short answer, and constructed-response type items, some of which include drawing. The new FOSSmap has an art palette that makes it easy for students to draw on a computer or pad. No more need to print out those items and have students complete them on paper although that is certainly still an option.

An art palette in FOSSmap.

An art palette in FOSSmap.

FOSSmap provides many of the tools that students experience on standardized state assessments, such as being able to enlarge text, zoom in and out, use a line reader, and hear an audio recording of the item text. Students using the new FOSSmap will be very well versed in test procedures when it comes to annual testing.

When the entire class has completed a test, teachers go to the coding section of the program to evaluate items that require manual coding (scoring). You will not be able to access reports until this coding is completed. The system is set up so you code all students on one item before moving on to the next item. This configuration is important (as opposed to coding all items for one student before moving on to the next student) because it allows you to keep the same mindset from case to case so that you are a more consistent coder; timewise it is also much more efficient because you don't have to keep changing your mindset from one coding guide to another with each item you are coding.

An art palette in FOSSmap.

A coding section for the FOSS Structures of Life module Posttest in FOSSmap. Click on image to view full-size.

When all items are coded you can access the reports. The best reports to start with are the Max Code Frequency chart and the Class by Item report. Between these two reports, you will be able to quickly identify the items (and therefore the concepts or practices) that students are struggling with so that you can plan next steps for instruction. A general library of next steps is found in the Assessment chapter, and specific next steps are found with the coding guide in the Assessment Coding Guide chapter.

Screenshot of Max Code Frequency chart

A Max Code Frequency chart in FOSSmap.
Click on image to view full-size.

Screenshot of a Class by Item report in FOSSmap

A Class by Item report in FOSSmap. Click on image to view full-size.

Many of you will be happy to know that we have restored the Class by Level reports. These reports place students into one of four progress levels: Notions (1), Recognition (2), Conceptual (3), and Strategic (4). These progress levels are described in detail in all Assessment chapters. Student placement into a level is based on an analysis of item difficulty and the student's overall performance. Many teachers like to use this report for assigning grades. If that is the case, we recommend that the Conceptual level be the "proficient" level or "meets standard" level, and is the level that we strive for all students to achieve. The Strategic level, then is the "exceeds standard" level.

Screenshot of a Class by Level report in FOSSmap.

A Class by Level report in FOSSmap.
Click on image to view full-size.

The Student by Item report is another report that is remaining in the new system. This report provides information about the highest code possible for each item, the code the student received on each item, and a description of what that means they can do/ know or what they need to work on. Teachers can add a grade if they wish, but we believe the most valuable information to parents will be the narrative of what their child can do (knows) and where he or she needs help.

Reports that are new to FOSSmap are the Class Diagnostics/Standards and Class Diagnostics/Questions reports. The Standards report shows the NGSS performance expectations and how many items contribute to the evidence for a student achieving that standard. (You can find the specific items that contribute to each standard on the last page of the Assessment Coding Guide chapter for each module.) It also provides a percentage for the class. That percentage is based on using the codes as points, then comparing the total possible points to those awarded to students. Likewise, the Class Diagnostics/Questions report, shows you a percentage for each question, and you can also click to open a report that lists the students and which code they received. We think that these reports will be very helpful to those districts using standards-based report cards.

Screenshot of a Class Diagnostics by Question report in FOSSmap.

A Class Diagnostics by Question report in FOSSmap.
Click on image to view full-size.

Screenshot of a Class Diagnostics by Standard report in FOSSmap.

A Class Diagnostics by Standard report in FOSSmap.
Click on image to view full-size.

We are very happy with the new system, but as is inevitable with a new system there will be bugs to be worked out the first few months the system is in operation. We are confident that overall the system will work as intended, but we need all of you to partner with us to make sure that is the case. If you see anything amiss in the program, please report that to us as soon as possible at either or both or It's always good to include the type of device you were on, the browser you were using, and a screen shot of any error messages you get. Together we can make this a great system that will save teachers a lot of coding time, and provide you with lots of valuable information for teaching FOSS, while providing students with the best experience possible.