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Models for Aligning Assessments to Standards. Consortia Conference Call August 23, 2005 Regie Stites SRI International. Assessment Limits. Some (more) Chinese sayings: “Viewing the heavens through a bamboo tube, Measuring the ocean with a spoon.” “Riding a horse, viewing flowers.”

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Models for aligning assessments to standards l.jpg

Models for Aligning Assessments to Standards

Consortia Conference Call

August 23, 2005

Regie Stites

SRI International


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Assessment Limits

Some (more) Chinese sayings:

“Viewing the heavens through a bamboo tube, Measuring the ocean with a spoon.”

“Riding a horse, viewing flowers.”

“Frog sitting in a well, viewing the sky.”


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Accountability Demands

An American saying:

“What gets tested, gets taught.”

When West meets East, we’ve got a world of trouble unless …

  • everyone understands the limits of assessment, and

  • we achieve reasonably good alignment of standards, assessment, and instruction.


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Two Directions for Alignment

Horizontal – align content standards to assessments, match content and depth

Vertical – align accountability tests to educational systems (curricula, materials content, instruction, student outcomes, stakeholder opinions)


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How to Align Tests and Standards:Three Methods

  • Sequential – develop content standards and curriculum, then develop standards-based tests

  • Expert review – use expert judgments to evaluate alignment, then select/reject test or explicate alignment

  • Content analysis – use content criteria to guide formal analysis, then select/reject test or explicate alignment


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How to Analyze Alignment: Four Expert Models

  • ‘Webb’ – procedures and criteria developed by Norman Webb

  • ‘SEC’ – Surveys of Enacted Curriculum

  • ‘Achieve’ – alignment analysis service provided by Achieve, Inc.

  • ‘CBE’ – technical assistance from the Council for Basic Education

    See ‘Dimensions of Comparison’ on page 6 of Models for Alignment Analysis and Assistance to States, CCSSO (2002)


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How Alignment Analysis Helps

  • Provides feedback for revision of assessments or standards

  • Provides information to help align instruction with assessments and standards

  • Helps everyone understand the proper limits for interpreting results of accountability tests


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Metaphors for Alignment Goals

Alignment as Congruence – assessment and standards content mirror each other

Alignment as a Set of Correspondences – assessment content samples from standards content

Alignment as a Bridge –curriculum content connects standards and assessments

Alignment as Gravitational Pull – standards, assessments, and instruction all reflect common elements of a reform agenda

[from Baker, 2004]


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Achieve’s Alignment Protocol:Four Dimensions

  • Content centrality – test item match to content of related standard

  • Performance centrality – test item match to the type of performance (cognitive demand) of related standard

  • Challenge – source and level of challenge for sets of items

  • Balance and range – match between emphasis and coverage of sets of items and standards


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Achieve’s Alignment Protocol:Three Stages

Stage 1: Item-by-item analysis

1(a) Confirming the test blueprint

1(b) Content centrality

1(c) Performance centrality

Stage 2: Challenge

2(a) Source of challenge (each item)

2(b) Level of challenge (sets of items mapped to each standard)

Stage 3: Balance and range (sets of items mapped to each standard)

3(a) Balance (emphasis)

3(b) Range (coverage)


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Achieve’s Alignment Protocol:Ratings

Stage 1: Content and performance centrality ratings =

2 clearly consistent; 1A not specific enough;

1B somewhat consistent; 0 inconsistent

Stage 2: Source of challenge rating =

1 appropriate source(s); 0 inappropriate source(s)

Stage 2: Level of challenge rating = narrative evaluation

Stage 3: Balance rating = narrative evaluation

Stage 3: Range rating = fraction of total objectives (indicators) mapped to standard assessed by at least one item

[above .67 = good, between .50 and .66 = acceptable]


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Achieve’s Alignment Protocol:Results

Elementary English Language Arts

Content centrality (% of items rated 2)

State A = 100; State B = 89; State C = 66; State D = 46; State E = 29

Performance centrality (% of items rated 2)

State A = 100; State B = 79; State C = 62; State D = 79; State E = 21

Source of challenge (% of items rated ‘appropriate’)

State A = 90; State B = 76; State C = 89; State D = 88; State E = 79

Average range scores

State A = .27; State B = .75; State C = .73; State D = .52; State E = .31


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Some Resources

Achieve alignment procedures

Robert Rothman et al. (May 2002). Benchmarking and alignment of standards and testing. http://www.cresst.org/Reports/TR566.pdf

Metaphors for alignment

Eva Baker. (December 2004). Aligning curriculum, standards, and assessments: Fulfilling the promise of school reform. http://www.cresst.org/reports/r645.pdf

Test publishers see more alignment than teachers

Chad Buckendahl et al. (2000). Alignment of standardized achievement tests to state content standards: A comparison of publishers’ and teachers’ perspectives. http://www.unl.edu/BIACO/NCME/buckendahlcw2.pdf

‘Nine requirements’ for a responsible state assessment system

Commission on Instructionally Supportive Assessment. (October 2001). Building tests to support instruction and accountability: A guide for policymakers. http://www.aasa.org/issues_and_insights/assessment/Building_Tests.pdf


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Resources Continued

  • Horizontal and Vertical AlignmentBetsy Chase and Sasha Zucker, Harcourt Assessments, Inc.

  • Rethinking Issues of Alignment Under No Child Left BehindSri Ananda, WestEd.


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Discussion Points

  • What are your goals for alignment? What do you want to learn from an alignment analysis? What will you do with the results of an alignment analysis?

    • help educators and stakeholders interpret results of accountability tests?

    • influence instructional content and practice?

    • shape policy?


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