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What makes ADAM highly diagnostic compared to other assessments?
 
ADAM: Based on a Diagnostic Model

ADAM is based on a true diagnostic model which identifies instructional points across 44 sub-tests of foundational mathematics. This is in stark contrast to summative models, which only test students on standards at their grade level. Thus, ADAM doesn’t stop at saying a student does not have mastery of a particular at-grade level standard or skill. In order to identify skills years below or above a student’s grade, ADAM uses sophisticated adaptive logic to adjust to students’ abilities across the full K to 7 instructional range for all 44 sub-tests of K-7 mathematics.

Higher Level of Granularity

Next, ADAM is structured with a high level of granularity. It covers 271 constructs (math skills), organized into 44 sub-tests. These are reported as the five major mathematics strands.

Constructs are the smallest unit, and ADAM tests each construct using multiple test items (3 to 10) to determine mastery. This gives ADAM greater validity at the construct level compared to other assessments, which may only use one item or assume mastery across constructs based on summative data on large groups of students.

This is the dirty little secret of many summative benchmark tests: they have achieved validity only at the total-score level. So, their publishers accurately claim that their assessments are valid. But then their product marketing departments create student reports with very detailed conclusions that have not been validated, or more detailed reports are created for administrators that lead one to believe a much higher degree of accuracy exists.

No Assumption of Mastery between Highly Correlated Math Skills

Any report can say that a student is weak in one area or strong in another. However, the manner in which this mastery is determined is important. ADAM assumes students are unique and expects them to have peaks and valleys in their skills. Thus, it only reports mastery when a student has actually demonstrated mastery. This stands in stark contrast to other assessments, which will make generalizations: for example, statistically, most students who have mastery of multiple-digit division also have mastery of multiple-digit multiplication. Assessments seeking to reduce total test time often generalize these types of correlations, possibly resulting in a student who gets multiple-digit division correct being reported as having mastered multiple-digit multiplication as well. ADAM does not make any of these assumptions because we need to identify each student’s unique abilities.
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