We believe good instruction is the top priority of our work as teachers. Of course, this incudes many essential elements – from choosing high-quality instructional materials to using effective questioning strategies, to building a safe, collaborative learning environment (we like __EFFL__ for all this stuff). But one idea that is often overlooked that is critical to good instruction is the development of effective assessments that inform teachers about student understanding, so that subsequent instruction can be tailored to the individuals or groups.

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For assessments to be effective, they need to allow teachers to accurately gauge student understanding and misunderstanding. This can only happen if the work we are receiving from students is honestly and authentically their own work.

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**The Problem of Test Security:**

Raise your hand if you have ever encountered any of the following scenarios:

A student from 1st hour takes your test and then talks about it at lunch.

A student has a binder of materials for your class that was given to them by an older sibling, and it contains some of the same assessments you are still using.

A student is absent on every test day and gets 100% on every test they make up.

A Google search reveals the full version of an assessment you are giving.

OK, you can all put your hands down now. These scenarios have existed for years, and the Google search problem is now bigger than ever. Every pre-made assessment resource in math education is available somewhere on the Internet – or will be.

The obvious solution is that we just need to make 5 unique versions of every test (one for 1st hour, one for 4th hour, one for 6th hour, one makeup exam for Friday testers, and one makeup test for Monday testers__)__. Easy peasy!

But how can we be sure that every version is equal in difficulty? Is changing just the numbers enough to make the versions different? Will one version of the test take longer than another? And the real question that matters: **Who has time to do all of this?**

**The Solution to Test Security**

Consider the increasingly popular door locks that require a specific code to gain access. For a lock with a 4-digit code, there are 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 10,000 different codes. And only one of them is the correct one. Yes, a person could stand at the door and try every single code until they get it right, but it would take them over 5 hours, on average, before they would get it. Nobody would do this.

Now consider a math assessment that has ten questions. Suppose that each of the ten questions has 4 replacement questions available for use. This means there are 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 = 9,765,625 (about ten million) different assessments. Yes, a student could Google search to find each one of these assessments, but it would take them over 500 years, on average, to find and study each one. No student would do this.

Ultimately the solution to test security is about having a large enough pool of questions and a way to swap in replacement questions.

**The Math Medic Assessment Platform**

This issue of test security was one of our top priorities when we designed the __Math Medic Assessment Platform__. Our solution was to develop replacement questions for every question that is on an assessment. Replacement questions always assess the same learning target as the original question and always at the same difficulty level, so you can be confident that using replacement questions does not change the scope or difficulty of the assessment.

And “replacement” question does not just mean it is the same question with different numbers. Here is an example of three questions that can all be used interchangeably.

Finding a replacement question can all be done with one click of the “SWAP” button, which quickly produces a replacement question.

Now here is where it all comes together. The “SWAP ALL QUESTIONS” button will randomly select a replacement for *every* question in your assessment, allowing you to create a new version of your assessment with one click. Of course, you also get a new updated answer key for every new version you make.

In less than one minute, you can have 5 different versions of your test ready to go.

With the problem of test security solved, teachers can now be more confident that student work is a true representation of their understanding of the content. The subsequent feedback provided to the student is therefore authentic and instructive to the student and the teacher can then build an intentional plan for instruction moving forward. The end goal is always to improve student learning!

Want to see more questions from the Math Medic Assessment Platform? Unit 1 is available as a free preview for every course (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Precalculus, AP Precalculus, and AP Statistics).