Advances in cognitive psychology both deepen our understanding of how students gain and use knowledge and broaden the range of performances and situations we want to see to acquire evidence about their developing knowledge. At the same time, advances in technology make it possible to capture more complex performances in assessment settings by including, as examples, simulation, interactivity, and extended responses. The challenge is making sense of the complex data that result. This article concerns an evidence-centered approach to the design and analysis of complex assessments.We present a design framework that incorporates integrated structures for a modeling knowledge and skills, designing tasks, and extracting and synthesizing evidence. The ideas are illustrated in the context of a project with the Dental Interactive Simulation Corporation (DISC), assessing problem solving in dental hygiene with computer-based simulations. After reviewing the substantive grounding of this effort, we describe the design rationale, statistical and scoring models, and operational structures for the DISC assessment prototype.
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