Last Friday (Oct. 4, 2013) I decided that it was time to retire the Joomla version of my Web site in favor of a self-hosted WordPress site. This was not the first time I tried this. Whenever I tried this something wouldn’t feel right so I would go back to Joomla. However, so many of the bloggers I follow use WordPress I knew I couldn’t stick with Joomla.
I knew from my prior experience that this can be an easy transition. The steps look something like this.
- Install WordPress in a sub-folder of my domain.
- Use a WordPress plug-in (I used the FG Joomla to WordPress plugin by Frédéric Gilles) to move my content to WordPress.
- Design the WordPress site. (This is where I would get stuck and go back to Joomla.)
- Call my service provider and promote the WordPress version to the main directory.
Last Friday I did something wrong and installed the WordPress SQL database over the existing Joomla database. I don’t remember what I was trying to accomplish. I remember making several attempts to install WordPress in order to get something “just right.” During one of those installations, instead of using a separate SQL database it overwrote my existing Joomla database. All of my data was lost!!
I was lucky because last year I had set up a new SQL database in order to update Joomla. Most of my old content was still in the older database and I was able to migrate that content to WordPress. Then I pulled this year’s content from Google’s cached copy of my Web site. The process took some time, but I was able to rescue almost everything. And, since I overwrote the Joomla database, I finished the transition this time.
I hope you like the new WordPress version of chadmbarrett.com. I already like this environment a lot better than Joomla. I was able to find a clean and simple front-end that should improve your experience. And, I already like the WordPress site administration features a lot more than I thought I would. For example, I can read everything in the WordPress administration area a lot better than I could read stuff in the Joomla admin. area. The Joomla administration pages were difficult for me to read because the text was small.
Let me know what you think. I’m eager to hear whether you like the new look as much as I do.
Image taken from http://rushtips.com/how-to-transfer-joomla-to-wordpress
This is the last in my series of articles about writing good items. Previously I talked about the importance of writing items that align to the standard, have an appropriate context, and adhere to the item specifications. For this article, I want to point out that items have a structure that item writers are expected to follow.
An item’s structure is determined by the type of item being written. The structure of each item has either evolved over time and is pretty much universal, or has been agreed upon by the developers of a specific test. The intent of having a structure for each item type is to bring consistency to the test-taking experience. Without such consistency, test takers would have difficulty navigating the items of a test.
For the past 100 years or more, item structure was not something that was given much thought. There were only a few item types to choose from; multiple-choice, short-answer, or constructed-response. Each item type had a well-established structure that evolved over many years of use. However, advancements in the area of technology-enhanced items have led to a significant increase in the number of item types available to writers. The Smarter Balanced consortium, for example, has identified 25 distinct item types or interactions (click here for general guidelines and here for each interaction’s structure).
Here is an annotated picture of a test item. The item was taken from the released item pool for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). This picture shows the various elements of a multiple-choice item and will give you a sense of the structure of the most widely used test item type in educational testing.
This series on writing great items was not intended to replace training on the elements of good item writing. This series was intended to provide an overview of some of the things professional item writers and content specialists consider when developing large-scale test items. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to provide more information about the item development process.
MCAS Grade 6 Released Item, taken from http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/2013/release/g6math.pdf
This is the third article in a series about writing good test items. The first article identified the importance of aligning a test item to a standard. The second article defined how to choose an appropriate context for an item. In this article I’ll introduce you to item specifications.
Item specifications (specs) are used to communicate important information to item writers about how items should be written. Good specs describe, for each standard or benchmark, what an item should include and what should not be included. The specs also provide details about how, for a particular standard, an item is to be written. Items that do not adhere to the specs will not be used on the test.
Both assessment consortia have developed item specifications. These specs state how each consortium intends to assess the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M). Each consortium worked with national content experts, state-level representatives, higher education officials, and classroom teachers to develop its specs. In my opinion, the two sets of specifications are the most comprehensive ever written to assess a given set of standards.
The links below will take you to the specs for each consortium. If you have thoughts about how the consortia are assessing the CCSS-M, please leave a comment.
PARCC Item Specifications
Smarter Balanced Item Specifications
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.