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Alignment of science and mathematics standards and assessments in four states

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The NISE issues papers to facilitate the exchange of ideas among the research and development community in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET) education and leading reformers of SMET education as found in schools, universities, and professional organizations across the country. The NISE Occasional Papers provide comment and analysis on current issues in SMET education including SMET innovations and practices. The papers in the NISE Research Monograph series report findings of original research. The NISE Conference and Workshop Reports result from conferences, forums, and workshops sponsored by the NISE. In addition to these three publication series, the NISE publishes Briefs on a variety of SMET issues.
Content may be subject to copyright.
National Institute for Science Education (NISE) Publications
The NISE issues papers to facilitate the exchange of ideas among the research and
development community in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET)
education and leading reformers of SMET education as found in schools, universities,
and professional organizations across the country. The NISE Occasional Papers
provide comment and analysis on current issues in SMET education includingSMET
innovations and practices. The papers in the NISE Research Monograph series report
findings of original research. The NISE Conference and Workshop Reports result from
conferences, forums, and workshops sponsored by the NISE. In addition to these three
publication series, the NISE publishes Briefs on a variety of SMET issues.
The alignment study was supported by a grant to the Council of Chief State School Officers from the
National Science Foundation (Award Number REC-9803080) and by the National Institute for Science
Education under a cooperative agreement between the National Science Foundation and the
UW–Madison (Cooperative Agreement No. RED-9452971). At UW–Madison, the National Institute for
Science Education is housed in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and is a collaborative effort
of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the School of Education, the College of Engineering, and
the College of Letters and Science. The collaborative effort is also joined by the National Center for
Improving Science Education, Washington, DC. Any opinions, findings, or conclusions are those of the
author and do not necessarily reflect the view of the supporting agencies.
Research Monograph No. 18
ALIGNMENT OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS STANDARDS
AND ASSESSMENTS IN FOUR STATES
Norman L. Webb
National Institute for Science Education
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Council of Chief State School Officers
Washington, DC
August, 1999
ii
About the Author
Norman L. Webb, senior research scientist with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, is
a mathematics educator and evaluator who is co-team leader of the Institute’s Systemic Reform
Team, rethinking how we evaluate mathematics and science education, while focusing on the
National Science Foundation’s Systemic Initiatives reform movement. His own research has
focused on assessment of students’ knowledge of mathematics and science. Webb also directs
evaluations of curriculum and professional development projects.
Acknowledgements
The author acknowledges the assistance of John Smithson, researcher and data analyst; Margaret
Powell, editor, and Lynn Lunde, secretary, for their assistance in the preparation of this
monograph. In addition, the Alignment Institute participants were helpful in the preparation of
this monograph: David Bahna, Science Education Assessment, South Carolina Department of
Education; Rolf Blank, Director of Education Indicators, Council of Chief State School Officers;
Jennifer Falls, Mathematics Education, Louisiana Department of Education; Mary Gromko,
Science Education, Colorado Department of Education; Michael Kestner, Mathematics
Education, North Carolina Department of Education; Gerald Kulm, Mathematics Education,
American Association for the Advancement of Science; Michael Lower, Mathematics Education
Assessment, South Carolina Department of Education; Megan Martin, Science Assessment
Consultant, California; Curtis McKnight, Department of Mathematics, University of Oklahoma;
Andrew C. Porter, Director, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-
Madison; Harold Pratt, Science Education, National Research Council, Center for Science,
Mathematics, and Engineering Education; Senta Raizen, Director, National Center for Improving
Science Education; Eleanor Sanford, Assessment, North Carolina Department of Public
Instruction; and Linda Wilson, School of Education, Mathematics, Universityof Delaware.
iii
Table of Contents
Figure and Tables............................................................................................................................v
Executive Summary ......................................................................................................................vii
Summary Report..............................................................................................................................1
Introduction.....................................................................................................................................1
Initial Methodology Developed at the Institute for the Analysis of Alignment
Criteria.............................................................................................................................. 3
Alignment Criteria Used for This Analysis.....................................................................................6
Categorical Concurrence.....................................................................................................7
Depth-of-Knowledge Consistency...................................................................................... 7
Range-of-Knowledge Correspondence ............................................................................... 8
Balance of Representation .................................................................................................. 8
State Reports on Alignment ............................................................................................................ 9
Findings: Alignment of States' Standards and Assessments......................................................... 11
Categorical Concurrence...................................................................................................11
Depth-of-Knowledge Consistency.................................................................................... 12
Range-of-Knowledge Correspondence ............................................................................. 16
Balance of Representation................................................................................................. 17
Reviewer Agreement in Coding........................................................................................18
Summary of Findings on Alignment Criteria.................................................................... 19
Findings: The Process for Studying Alignment ............................................................................19
Reviewers and Their Training........................................................................................... 20
Coding Process...................................................................................................... 21
Levels for Determining Depth of Knowledge...................................................................21
Coding Procedures ................................................................................................ 23
Limitations of the Alignment Analysis .............................................................................25
Setting an Acceptable Level for Alignment Criteria......................................................... 26
Recommendations for Improving the Process...............................................................................27
Conclusions...................................................................................................................................27
References.....................................................................................................................................29
Appendix A: Criteria for Alignment of Expectations and Assessments in Mathematics
and Science Education ............................................................................................ 31
Appendix B: Sample of Tables Included in Each State Report: State A Grade 8 Science ...........33
v
Figure and Tables
Figure 1. Example of two assessment items with the same stem, but rated at different
depth-of-knowledge levels............................................................................................24
Table 1. Percent of multiple-choice items of total assessment by state, content area,
and grade ...................................................................................................................... 10
Table 2. Summary of alignment analysis for four states in science and mathematics...............13
Table 3. Average percent across standards of reviewers' agreement on acceptable level
for criterion................................................................................................................... 18
vii
Executive Summary
Reviewers analyzed the alignment of assessments and standards in mathematics and science from
four states at a four-day institute conducted June 29 through July 2, 1998. Six reviewers
compared the match between assessment items and standards in mathematics and seven
compared the match in science. Data from these analyses were processed and used to judge the
degree of alignment on four criteria: categorical concurrence, depth-of-knowledge consistency,
range-of-knowledge correspondence, and balance of representation.
The analyses indicated that the standards of the four states varied in what content students were
expected to know, the level of specificity at which expectations were expressed, and
organization. Nearly all of the sixteen assessment instruments reviewed incorporated some
constructed-response items. Only one mathematics assessment for grade 10 from one state
consisted solely of multiple-choice items. The items in three science and two mathematics
assessments analyzed from one state were evenly divided between multiple-choice and
constructed-response items. Assessments from the other three states included from 80% to 90%
multiple-choice items.
Alignment between assessments and standards varied across grade levels, content areas, and
states without any discernable pattern. Assessments and standards of three of the four states
satisfied the categorical concurrence criterion. This criterion, the most common conception of
alignment, required the assessment and standards to include the same content topics. Alignment
was found to be the weakest on the depth-of-knowledge consistency and range-of-knowledge
correspondence criteria. Generally, assessment items required a lower level of knowledge and did
not span the full spectrum of knowledge as expressed in the standards. However, for the
knowledge and skills identified in the standards and addressed by the assessments, generallythe
assessment items were evenly distributed.
A major goal of this study was to develop a valid and reliable process for analyzing the alignment
among standards and assessments. The process did produce credible results that distinguished
among the different attributes of alignment and detected specific ways that alignment could be
improved. Issues that did arise from an analysis of the process indicated that reviewers could
benefit from more training at the beginning of the institute. Reviewers also needed more
clarification of the four depth-of-knowledge levels and more explicit rules for assigning an
assessment item to more than one statement of expectation.
1
Summary Report
Establishing alignment of standards and assessments alone is not enough for attaining the full
impact of standards-based reform, but it is an early indicator that helps assure a state’s standards
and assessments will reach their full potential. Establishing the degree to which assessments are
aligned with standards is not easy. This analysis demonstrates one process for quantifying the
alignment between standards and assessments, using specific criteria. It summarizes the findings
from an alignment analysis of the standards and assessments from four states conducted with the
participation of experts in science and mathematics education as reviewers. Four companion
reports, one for each state, describe in more detail the analysis and findings from this study.
Along with determining the alignment of state standards and assessments, a second important
purpose of the study was to refine the process for analyzing alignment. Each of the four states
volunteered to have their standards and assessments analyzed for two or three grade levels in
mathematics and in science. Throughout this document and the four companion reports, the
states are identified as State A, State B, State C, and State D to protect their identity.
Introduction
Alignment is not a new phenomenon, but has been studied for a number of years. What has
changed is the nature of the assessments, expectations, and other system components to be
aligned and the stakes for achieving alignment. In the 1960s, analyses were performed on
assessment tasks and behavioral objectives as part of the mastery-learning movement (Cohen,
1987; Carroll, 1963). Exact alignment was achieved if the assessment tasks were equivalent to
the instructional tasks. Learning goals were partitioned into narrowly defined behavioral
objectives. Domains of all possible test items were specified for each behavioral objective.
Content analysis by expert panels remains the primary technique for judging alignment between
standards and assessments. But with the advent of standards-based education, systemic reform
(Smith & O’Day, 1991), and criterion-referenced tests, judging alignment has become more
complex and requires more systematic procedures. The underlying assumptions regarding the
assessments, such as norm-referenced tests and normally distributed achievement, can result in
misalignment with standards that are targeted for all students (Baker, Freeman, & Clayton,
1991). Educators increasingly recognize that if system components are not aligned, the system
will be fragmented, will send mixed messages, and will be less effective (Consortium for Policy
Research in Education, 1991; Newmann, 1993; Spillane, 1998). But in addition to conceptual
reasons for assuring alignment, states are also faced with legal reasons. The Improving America's
Schools Act explained how assessments are to relate to standards: “...suchassessments(high
quality, yearly student assessments) shall ...bealignedwiththeState'schallengingcontentand
student performance standards and provide coherent information about student attainment of
such standards . . .” (U.S. Congress, 1994, p. 8). The U.S. Department of Education's explanation
of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act,
which includes Title I, indicated alignment of curriculum, instruction, professional development,
and assessments as a key performance indicator for states, districts, and schools striving to meet
challenging standards. Within the changing climate of what we know about what works in
education and the increasing mandates and pressures on education systems, alignment has
become critical to a full understanding of how systems function. This studywas directed toward
refining procedures for determining degrees of alignment so that they are more standardized and
2
useful in order for states and districts to better understand the agreement between standards and
assessments
Alignment of standards for student learning and assessments for measuring students’ attainment
of these standards is an essential attribute for an effective standards-based education system.
Alignment is defined as the degree to which standards and assessments are in agreement and
serve in conjunction with one another to guide the system toward students learning what theyare
expected to know and do. As such, alignment is a quality of the relationship between standards
and assessments and not an attribute of any one of these two system components. As a
relationship between two or more system components, alignment can be determined byusing the
multiple criteria described in detail in a National Institute for Science Education (NISE) research
monograph, Criteria for Alignment of Expectations and Assessments in Mathematics and Science
Education (Webb, 1997).
A four-day Alignment Analysis Institute was conducted June 29 through July 2, 1998. Sixteen
people, including state content specialists, state assessment consultants, content experts, and
researchers, attended the institute, which was coordinated by the Council of Chief State School
Officers (CCSSO) with the cooperation of the National Institute for Science Education (NISE).
Prior to this institute, most participants attended a one-daymeeting in Washington, DC, on April
29, to be introduced to the process and to the alignment criteria to be used at the institute. At the
summer institute, six of the participants rated mathematics standards and assessments; seven
rated science standards and assessments; and three coordinated the process. Four states
volunteered to have their mathematics standards and assessments analyzed for alignment for two
or three grade levels. Three of these states agreed to have their science standards and assessments
analyzed for two or three grade levels.1
A major goal of the institute was to develop a systematic process and analytic tools for judging
the alignment between standards and assessments based on the criteria developed in conjunction
with CCSSO and NISE (Webb, 1997) that are listed in Appendix A. Reviewers were not given
lengthy training in applying the criteria, but were expected to help perfect the process over the
duration of the institute. One outcome of the institute is a refined process that can be used under
more controlled conditions to make a judgment on the alignment of standards and assessments.
Reviewers were instructed to attend to the alignment between the state standards and
assessments. There was no opportunity for reviewers to offer their opinions on either the quality
of the standards or of the assessment activities/items. The results produced from the institute
pertain only to how the state standards and the state assessments are in agreement; they do not
serve as external verification of the general quality of a state’s standards or assessments. The
results of the Alignment Analysis Institute do provide expert judgment about alignment,
independent of any of the participating states, by those who are veryfamiliar with state and
1For state C grades 4 and 8 science only a sample of 14 items for each grade were available for review. Sixteen
analyses compared at least some assessment items with the state's standards. Fourteen ofthese analyses used the
complete assessment instrument.
3
national standards.2When reviewers did vary in their judgments, using averages lessened the
error that might result from any one reviewer.
This report describes the results of an alignment study of standards and grade level tests in
mathematics and science for three states and in mathematics onlyfor one state. The study
addressed specific criteria related to the content agreement between the state standards and grade
level assessments. Four criteria received major attention: categorical concurrence, depth-of-
knowledge consistency, range-of-knowledge correspondence, and balance of representation.
Other criteria such as articulation across grades and ages, equity and fairness, and pedagogical
implications were given less emphasis. Wixcon and her colleagues (Wixcon, Fisk, Dutro, &
McDaniel, 1999) have successfully applied the four criteria used in this analysis in the context of
reading.
Initial Methodology Developed at the Institute for the Analysis of Alignment Criteria
Prior to analyzing the documents, the reviewers were onlygiven general instructions and broad
definitions for the depth-of-knowledge levels required to satisfy a standard and to successfully
complete an assessment activity. One purpose for conducting these alignment studies is to better
specify what training reviewers need if they are to validly code assessment activities and
standards. Reviewers were given the following levels to judge depth of knowledge for both
mathematics and science:
Levels
1. Recall
Recall of a fact, information, or procedure.
2. Skill/Concept
Use of information, conceptual knowledge, procedures, two or more steps, etc.
3. Strategic Thinking
Requires reasoning, developing a plan or sequence of steps; has some
complexity; more than one possible answer; generally takes less than 10 minutes
to do.
4. Extended Thinking
Requires an investigation; time to think and process multiple conditions of the
problem or task; and more than 10 minutes to do non-routine manipulations.
Reviewers within a content area were encouraged to refine these levels or to add greater
clarification, providing they all came to some agreement. One of the intended outcomes for this
alignment study is greater clarityfor the levels. The revised levels are given in this report.
2Averages across reviewers and for each standard were computed for variables representing the relationship between
standards and assessments. These averages were compared with predefined levels to determine whether alignment
was acceptable for each of four criteria.
4
Different states use different terminology to label expectations for what students are to know and
do. Some states label the large categories of student expectations as “strands.” Other states call
these expectations “competency goals.” Still others refer to state expectations as “benchmarks.”
To improve the interpretation of results, the same convention was used in this analysis to label
the different levels of expectations. The term standards refers to the most general expectations for
a grade and content area. The number of standards in the four states that participated in this
analysis ranged from four to ten. Goal refers to the next level of specificity of expectations.
Generally the set of goals for a standard covers the full range of knowledge specified by the
standard. The number of goals for a standard in this analysis went as high as 20. Objective refers
to the third level of specificity. Objectives further delineate expectations stated as a goal. The
number of expectation levels can vary. In this analysis, a maximum of three levels of
expectations was included. If a state only used two levels of expectations, then the most general
level is called standards and the second level is called objectives.
Prior to the Alignment Analysis Institute, reviewers were sent copies of the standards and were
asked to become familiar with them. At the institute, reviewers as a group began byassigning a
depth-of-knowledge level for each objective. Achieving one objective could require students to
know the content at more than one depth-of-knowledge level.3The assigned level was to
represent the highest level of knowledge expected for a student to satisfactorily demonstrate the
attainment of the objective. All of the reviewers reached consensus on the assigned level for each
objective through deliberation as a group. This activity served two purposes. First, reviewers
became more familiar with what students were expected to know and do for each objective.
Second, the assigned levels were necessary in order to compare the depth-of-knowledge levels of
individual assessment items/activities in the analysis.
Reviewers recorded the depth-of-knowledge level for each objective on a coding matrix prepared
prior to the institute. The coding matrix listed all of the objectives for student learning for each
standard. These expectations were listed in rows in the same order using the same organization as
that used in the state’s standards document. For each standard, in sequence, the first row listed
the standard, the second row a goal, and the third and subsequent rows objectives. Each standard,
goal, and objective was assigned a unique numerical-alpha code.
One column on the coding matrix represented one assessment item/activity. Individual reviewers
read each assessment item and assigned it a depth-of-knowledge level. Each reviewer then wrote
this depth-of-knowledge level code in the item/activity’s column in each row of an objective if a
student’s response to the item/activity provided information about what the student knew or
could do with respect to the objective. Each objective coded for an item was called a hit.
Multiple hits were allowed for any one assessment item/activity. Initially, reviewers were not
given specifications about limits on the number of hits for any one assessment activity/item.
After discussion with other reviewers following the coding of each test, reviewers developed
more refined guidelines for multiple hits. This had the effect, as the reviewers gained more
experience, of reducing noticeably the number of instances that reviewers marked multiple hits
for any one item/activity. The number of multiple hits was one source of variation among
3Objective as used in this analysis should not be confused with a behavioral objective designed to express one
specific behavior and one depth-of-knowledge level.
5
reviewers. Reviewers did converge in the number of multiple hits as they became more familiar
with the process and developed agreed-upon rules.
Reviewers were asked to code the assessment items/activities independently for each test, with
little or no interaction. After all of the reviewers completed coding the instruments, theywere
asked to select a sample of items and compare their results. The primary purpose of this
discussion was to improve the reliability among the reviewers in coding assessment
items/activities on the next and subsequent instruments. Reviewers could make changes as they
calibrated their work with the other reviewers if theyfelt it was appropriate. Reviewers discussed
both what items/activities were assigned to what objectives and the depth-of-knowledge code
assigned to each item.
States included in their assessments both multiple-choice items and constructed-response
activities; reviewers did not distinguish between the two formats in coding an assessment
item/activity during the coding process. Reviewers assigned each item and activity a depth-of-
knowledge level and then recorded in the column for that item the number representing this level
in the cell corresponding to each objective most associated with the assessment item/activity.
Multiple-choice and constructed-response items both had a range in depth-of-knowledge levels
and those of each format could correspond to more than one objective.
The codings for all of the reviewers were entered on a spreadsheet to compute summary
statistics. For each assessment instrument and standards document, the codes for each reviewer
were tabulated by the frequency of hits and the depth-of-knowledge levels for the hits. Data for
all of the objectives for one standard were aggregated or listed as a profile for each standard. The
results were reported for each standard.
Statistics for each standard were computed on four alignment criteria for content focus:
categorical concurrence, depth-of-knowledge consistency, range-of-knowledge correspondence,
and balance of representation. The mean number of hits was used to judge the categorical
concurrence between the assessment instrument and the standards. The frequencies of hits
aggregated across the objectives for each standard and by the depth-of-knowledge levels were
used to judge depth-of-knowledge consistency by considering the percentage of hits that were
below, at the same level as, or above the level for the objective. The percentage of the objectives
hit within a standard was used to judge the range-of-knowledge correspondence within a
standard. The distribution of the hits among the objectives for a standard with at least one hit was
used to compute the balance of representation for a standard. This analysis is based on the
assumption that the set of objectives for a standard spans the entire domain of knowledge and
skills a student should demonstrate to fully meet the standard, an assumption not always made.
Reviewers were asked for their comments on other alignment criteria that included articulation
across grades, pedagogical implications, and equity. Some offered their comments on these
criteria, but because of strong time pressures, systematic procedures were not used to gather
information on these criteria. Reviewers reacted to the overall process and made suggestions in a
debriefing session held at the end of the institute.
All of the statistics were computed for each reviewer. The mean for each statistic was computed
using the results for only the reviewers who completed coding all of the items—i.e., at least two
6
reviewers, and up to seven for some assessments. The mean among reviewers on each statistic is
a reasonable approximation for the summary information that lessens the error of any one
reviewer in coding. Of course, statistics based on the coding by a greater number of reviewers
will be more accurate. Standard deviations, reported along with the mean, provide one indication
of the variation among reviewers. Of course, the total number of objectives and the total number
of hits for a standard also have to be considered in interpreting the significance of the variation
among reviewers.
Alignment Criteria Used for This Analysis
This analysis judged the alignment between the standards and the assessment using four criteria.
For each criterion, an acceptable level was defined based on what would be required to assure
that students have met the standards. A standard, the most general statement of expectations, was
used as the unit of analysis in judging the alignment on each criterion. All of the statistics
comparing the agreement between the set of standards and an assessment were computed for
each standard. The analysis concluded with a judgment of whether or not there was acceptable
alignment on each of the four criteria for each standard. What was considered as an acceptable
level was based on specific assumptions. The acceptable levels used in this analysis should be
considered as advisory and illustrative, but not absolute. A state may have reasons for setting the
acceptable level for criteria higher or lower than specified in this analysis. Factors that can
influence what an acceptable level is include the cutoff score for proficient work, the breadth of
content coverage in a standard, and time for testing. This report explicitly states what
assumptions were made in setting criteria for acceptable alignment.
In evaluating whether an acceptable level was attained on a standard for each of the four criteria,
no distinction was made if one assessment item/activity had multiple hits (corresponded to more
than one objective). For all four states, the analyses gave equal credit to each hit. Also, nearly all
assessment items reviewed were scored as right or wrong. Only a very few items were scored
with a rubric that had a possible point value greater than one. There were only a few
consequences to these conditions. Allowing one assessment item to correspond to more than one
objective improved the likelihood that the assessment and standards would satisfy the
requirements for an acceptable level on categorical concurrence and range-of-knowledge
correspondence criteria. Because nearly all items were scored as right or wrong, treating all of the
assessment items as the same, regardless of their format, had essentially no effect on the results
of the analysis.
Some reviewers judged that a few assessment items did not measure any of the content expressed
in the state’s standards. These items were not included in the analysis for that reviewer.
Excluding these “maverick” items, as judged by some reviewers, reduced the total number of hits
for the reviewer, which then lowered the mean number of hits across the reviewers. Reducing the
number of hits made it more difficult to attain acceptable levels on categorical concurrence and
range-of-knowledge correspondence criteria. A statistic could have been computed to represent
the percent of items on the assessment that corresponded to the standards. But because nearly all
assessment items related to at least some objectives, such a statistic was considered to be less
informative and was not computed. Instead, if reviewers found items that did not correspond to
any content in the standards, this was noted in the written report.
7
Reviewers also found assessment items that corresponded to the general goal or standard, but not
to any of the objectives. These “generic” items were included in the analysis by adding a generic
objective encompassing all material in the goal statement not covered by the objectives. This
action increased the total number of objectives for a standard and was noted in the text of the
report. The existence of generic items indicated an omission in the standards in that the stated
objectives did not fully span all of the content knowledge represented in the goal or standard.
Categorical Concurrence
One aspect of alignment between standards and assessments is if both address the same content
categories. The categorical concurrence criterion provides a very general indication if both
documents incorporate the same content. The criterion of categorical concurrence between
standards and assessment is met if the same or consistent categories of content appear in both
documents. This criterion was judged by determining whether the assessment included items
measuring content from each standard.
The analysis assumed that the assessment had to have at least six items measuring content from a
standard in order for there to be an acceptable categorical concurrence between the standard and
the assessment. The number of items, six, is based on estimating the number of items that could
produce a reasonably reliable scale for estimating students’ mastery of content on that scale. Of
course, many factors have to be considered in determining what a reasonable number is,
including the reliability of the scale, the mean score, and cutoff score for determining mastery.
Using a procedure developed by Subkoviak (1988) and assuming the cutoff score is the mean and
the reliability of one item is .1, it was estimated that six items would produce an agreement
coefficient between two equivalent test administrations of at least .63. This indicates that about
63% of the group would be consistently classified as masters or non-masters on the basis of two
equivalent test administrations. The agreement coefficient would improve to .77 if the cutoff
score is increased to one standard deviation from the mean and to .88, with a cutoff score of 1.5
standard deviations from the mean. None of the four states included in the analysis reported
student results by standards or required students to achieve a specified cutoff score on assessment
scales related to a standard. If a state did do this, then the state would want a higher agreement
coefficient than .63. Six items were assumed as a minimum for an assessment scale measuring
content knowledge related to a standard, and as a basis for making some decisions about
students’ knowledge of that standard. A concrete example may help to clarify the rationale. If the
mean for six items is 3 and the standard deviation is one, then a cutoff score set at 4 would
produce an agreement coefficient of .77. Any fewer items with a mean of one-half of the items
would require a cutoff that would only allow a student to miss one item. This would be a very
stringent requirement, considering a reasonable standard error of measurement, on the scale.
Depth-of-Knowledge Consistency
Standards and assessments can be aligned not only on the category of content covered by each,
but also on the basis of the complexity of knowledge required by each. Depth-of-knowledge
consistency between standards and assessment indicates alignment if what is elicited from
students on the assessment is as demanding cognitively as what students are expected to know
8
and do as stated in the standards. The acceptable level for a standard on this criterion is directly
related to what is considered passing work on the assessment scale for that standard. For
consistency to exist between the assessment and the standard, as judged in this analysis, at least
50% of the items corresponding to an objective had to be at or above the level of knowledge of
the objective. Fifty percent, a conservative acceptable level, is based on the assumption that most
cutoff points on tests require students to answer correctlymore than half of the items to attain a
passing score. If at least 50% of the assessment items are required to be at or above the
corresponding objectives, then students would have to answer correctly at least one of these
items. For example, assume an assessment included six items related to one standard and
students were required to answer correctly four of those items to be judged proficient—i.e., 67%
of the items. If three, 50%, of the six items were at or above the depth-of-knowledge level of the
corresponding objectives, then to achieve a proficient score a student would be required to
answer correctly at least one item at or above the depth-of-knowledge level of one objective.
Some leeway was used in this analysis on this criterion. If a standard had between 40% to 50% of
its corresponding items at or above the depth-of-knowledge levels of the objectives, then it was
reported that the criterion was “weakly” met.
Range-of-Knowledge Correspondence
For standards and assessments to be aligned, the breadth of knowledge on both should be
comparable. The range-of-knowledge criterion is used to judge whether a comparable span of
knowledge expected of students by a standard is the same as, or corresponds to, the span of
knowledge that students need in order to correctly answer the assessment items/activities. The
criterion for correspondence between span of knowledge for a standard and the assessment
considers the number of objectives within the standard with at least one related assessment
item/activity. At least 50% of the objectives for a standard had to have at least one related
assessment item in order for the alignment on this criterion to be judged acceptable. This cutoff
for acceptance is based on the assumption that students’ knowledge should be tested on content
from over half of the domain of knowledge for a standard. This assumes that each objective for a
standard has equal weight and that the set of objectives spans the knowledge needed to attain the
standard. Depending on the balance in the distribution of items and the need to have a low
number of items related to any one objective, the requirement that assessment items need to be
related to more than 50% of the objectives for a standard increases the likelihood that students
will have to demonstrate knowledge on more than one objective per standard to achieve a
minimal passing score. As with the other criteria, a state may choose to make the acceptable
cutoff point on this criterion more rigorous by requiring an assessment to include items related to
a greater number of the objectives. However, any restriction on the number of items included on
the test will place an upper limit on the number of objectives that can be assessed. Range-of-
knowledge correspondence is more difficult to attain if the content expectations are partitioned
among a greater number of standards and a large number of objectives.
Balance of Representation
In addition to comparable depth and breadth of knowledge, aligned standards and assessments
require the knowledge to be distributed equally in both. The range-of-knowledge criterion only
considers the number of objectives within a standard hit (a standard with a corresponding item),
9
but does not take into consideration how the hits (or assessment items/activities) were distributed
among these objectives. The balance-of-representation criterion is used to indicate the extent to
which items are evenly distributed across objectives. An index is used to judge the distribution of
assessment items. This index only considers the objectives for a standard that have at least one
hit—i.e., one related assessment item/objective. The index is computed by considering the
difference in the proportion of objectives and the proportion of hits assigned to the objective. An
index value of 1 signifies perfect balance and is obtained if the hits (items/assessment) related to
a standard are equally distributed among the objectives for the given standard. If 12 objectives
for a standard are hit and there are 24 hits, then perfect balance (a value of 1) would be achieved
if each objective had two hits. Index values that approach 0 signify that a large proportion of the
hits (items/assessment) were on only one or two of all of the objectives hit. Depending on the
number of objectives and the number of hits, a unimodal distribution (most items related to one
objective and only one item related to each of the remaining objectives) has an index value of
less than .5. A bimodal distribution has an index value of around .55 or .6. Index values of .7 or
higher indicate that items/activities are distributed among all of the objectives at least to some
degree (e.g., every objective has at least two items) and is used as the acceptable cutoff point on
this criterion.
State Reports on Alignment
This analysis produced a report on the alignment of standards and assessments for each of the
four states that volunteered to participate in the study (Webb, 1999a, b, c, & d). Each state report
describes the state’s standards, their organization, and the assessments for those grades in science
and mathematics in the alignment study. These reports then describe and discuss the degree to
which the standards and assessments are aligned on each of the four criteria by content area and
grade level. Each analysis reports in four tables the specific attributes for the standards and
assessments and their agreement in one content area for one grade level. The four tables
produced for State A grade 8 science are included as Appendix B to give a sample of the
information included in each state report.
Even though item format was not taken into consideration in the analysis, format is important in
considering alignment. This analysis onlyused four of several criteria that can be used to study
the alignment between standards and assessments (Webb, 1997). Structure-of-knowledge
comparability, another content-focus criterion (see Appendix A), attends to the appropriateness
of the format of assessment items as compared to how students are to understand the relationship
among ideas and the connection among concepts and procedures. A thorough study of alignment
between standards and assessments should attend carefully to item format and other ways the
structure of knowledge can be represented both in the assessments and standards. Item format did
have some relevance to the analysis employed in this study. Non-multiple-choice items generally
require more time and can reduce the total number of items on the assessment. A lower number
of items on an assessment makes it more difficult for the standards and assessments to attain an
acceptable level for the categorical concurrence and range-of-knowledge criteria. For example,
State D had from 14 to 24 fewer items in the same grade level and content areas as other states
(Table 1). This was due, in part, to State D incorporating a high number of constructed-response
items.
10
Table 1
Percent of Multiple-Choice Items of Total Assessment by State, Content Area, and Grade
Content Area Grade Total Number of
Assessment Items Percent of Multiple-Choice Items
N%
State A
Science 3 44 86
870 86
Mathematics 3 50 76
661 83
State B
Mathematics 4 86 93
886 93
10 70 100
State C
Mathematics 4 68 84
874 81
State D
Science 3 50 50
749 51
10 46 54
Mathematics 4 54 59
851 61
The assessments of the four states included both multiple-choice items and constructed-response
activities. State B mathematics assessments in grades 4, 8, and 10 had the highest percentage of
multiple-choice items of the four states (Table 1). Of a total of 86 items for grade 4, 86 items for
grade 8, and 70 items for grade 10, the proportions of multiple-choice items were 93%, 93%, and
100% respectively. State D assessments in mathematics and science had the lowest percentage of
multiple and fixed-choice items, ranging from 50% to 61%. In science, the grade 3 assessment
had 50 items (50% multiple- or fixed-choice), the grade 7 assessment had 49 items (51%
multiple-choice), and the grade 10 assessment had 46 items (54% multiple-choice). In
mathematics, State D’s grade 4 assessment had 54 items (59% multiple-choice) and the grade 8
assessment had 51 items (61% multiple-choice). The total number of items and the proportion of
multiple-choice items for States A and C fell in between. State A science assessments in grades 3
and 8 included 44 and 70 items, respectively. Of these items for both grades, 86% were multiple
choice. State A mathematics assessments in grades 3 and 6 included 50 and 61 items,
respectively. Of these, grade 3 had 76% and grade 6 had 83% multiple-choice items. State C
mathematics assessments in grades 4 and 8 included 68 and 74 items, respectively. Of these,
grade 4 had 84% and grade 8 had 81% multiple-choice items.
11
Findings: Alignment of States’ Standards and Assessments
Alignment of standards and assessments varied among the four states included in the analysis
and between content areas and grade levels within each state. State B was judged to have the
highest degree of alignment of the four states and for the content area and grade level analyzed
(Table 2).
Table 2 displays a summary of the findings for the four states. The table reports, for each state,
content area, and grade level for which an analysis was performed, the percent of standards with
an acceptable level of alignment with the assessment for each of the four criteria. More detailed
information is given in the reports for each state as illustrated in the complete set of tables for
one analysis given in Appendix B. In the summaryinformation reported in Table 2, the standards
and assessment were judged to be fully aligned on the criterion if an acceptable level was
attained for all of the standards (100%); highly aligned if an acceptable level was attained for
70% to 99% of the standards; partially aligned if an acceptable level was attained for 50% to
69% of the standards; and poorly aligned if an acceptable level was attained for less than 50% of
the standards.
For State B, the analysis was conducted for only mathematics and for three grades. The standards
and assessments were fully aligned for all three grades on categorical concurrence, highly aligned
for one of the three grades on depth-of-knowledge consistency (grade 8, 71%), acceptably or
highly aligned for two grades on range-of-knowledge correspondence (grades 8 and 10, 86% and
100%), and acceptably or highly aligned on balance of representation for all three grade levels
(86%, 71%, and 100%) on balance of representation. None of the four standards for grade 10
attained an acceptable degree of alignment for the depth-of-knowledge consistency. For each of
the grade 10 standards, less than 50% of the corresponding items had a depth-of-knowledge level
below the corresponding objective.
Categorical Concurrence
Two of the four states did not have a sufficient number of assessment items, six or more as used
in this analysis, measuring knowledge for more than one-quarter of the standards. The standards
and the assessment, in these instances, failed to meet the alignment criterion of categorical
concurrence. Standards were not given equal weight on the assessment, as indicated by the
number of items related to each standard. Even though most states did not differentiate the
emphasis to be placed on one standard over another, the assessments used by the states gave
different weightings to standards by varying the number of items measuring context related to the
different standards. State D was judged to have the highest proportion of its standards not
attaining an acceptable level of categorical concurrence. Of the five different analyses performed
for State D, two resulted in half or fewer of the standards attainingthe criterion and two resulted
in only 62% attaining the criterion. There are some practical reasons why State D had more
difficulty meeting categorical concurrence than the other three states. For each content area and
grade level, the number of items on the assessment was relatively low compared to the number of
standards. State D had the highest number of standards for each grade and content area, while
also having among the lowest number of assessment items. State D also had more constructed-
response items. This raises the concern of considering each alignment criterion in isolation.
12
There also may be other reasons why onlythree or four items are included on an on-demand
assessment for specific standards. For example, students’ knowledge related to a standard may be
more appropriately measured by the teacher in the classroom than on a large-scale assessment.
What the analysis of categorical concurrence did uncover was that even with a high number of
assessment items being used at a grade level, states have distributed these items unevenly so that
one-fourth or more of the standards had less than six items measuring knowledge related to each
of these standards.
Depth-of-Knowledge Consistency
The analysis revealed another issue. A high percentage of the state assessments used items at a
level of complexity that was below that of the corresponding objectives. This was more of a
problem for the alignment in State D than for the other states, in part because State D had a high
proportion of its standards at depth-of-knowledge (DOK) levels of strategic thinking (Level 3)
and extended thinking (Level 4). Standard statements varied significantly among the states bythe
amount of content incorporated in one objective and the deepest level of knowledge
required to fully meet the standard. For example, State D listed for grade 8 mathematics the
following objectives for the Number Sense Standard (V):
V.4 Investigate number forms such as fractions, decimals, and percents, and demonstrate their
use in today’s society. (DOK: 4)
V.6 Develop, analyze, and explain methods for solving proportions. (DOK: 4)
Reviewers judged both of these objectives to have a depth-of-knowledge level of 4 (Extended
Thinking) requiring investigation, development, and applications to society.
In contrast, State B listed as the objective for its grade 8 mathematics Numeration Standard (I):
I.6 Describe the properties of terminating, repeating, and non-repeating decimals and be able
to convert fractions to decimals and decimals to fractions. (DOK: 2)
State A stated the following goals and objectives for its grade 6 Numerical and Algebraic
Concepts and Operations Standard (I):
I.A Understand and explain how the basic arithmetic operations relate to each other
Apply the distributive propertyof multiplication over addition and subtraction with
integers, fractions, and decimals. (DOK: 2)
I.B Model, explain, and develop reasonable proficiency in operations on whole numbers,
fractions, and decimals.
Solve problems that involve addition, subtraction, and/or multiplication with fractions
and mixed numbers, with and without regrouping, that include like and unlike
denominators of 12 or less and express their answers in the simplest form. (DOK: 3)
12
Table 2
Summary of Alignment Analysis for Four States in Science and Mathematics
Depth-of-Knowledge Level
of ObjectivesaStandards with Percent Acceptable Alignment
by Criteriab
State Content
Area Grade Standard
#
Obj
#
1
%
2
%
3
%
4
%
Itemc
#
Cat.
Concurr.
%
Depth
%
Range
%
Balance
%
A Science 3 6 61 16 61 23 0 44 67 83 33 100
8 6 97 9 56 33 2 70 67 17 33 100
Mathematics3 6 941545261350 67 50 0100
6 6 101 10 49 27 14 61 100 100 0 83
B Mathematics 4 7 61 2 56 34 8 86 100 57 57 86
8 7 43 0 42 42 16 86 100 71 86 71
10 4 20 0 35 65 0 70 100 0 100 100
C Science 4 5 60 8 72 20 0 14 unddund und und
8 5 86 7 77 16 0 14 und und und und
Mathematics 4 6 107 6 61 31 3 74 100 100 33 83
8 6 105 14 42 32 12 68 83 83 0 83
D Science 3 8 86 14 57 20 9 50 38 25 0 100
7 8 93 11 64 22 3 49 62 50 25 100
10 8 72 1 56 33 10 46 62 12 12 100
Mathematics4 10 56 021413854 90 4080 90
8 10 63 0 17 38 44 51 50 40 30 80
a1 – Recall cTotal number of assessment items
2 – Skill/Concept
3 – Strategic Thinking dund = undetermined because too fewand only sample items
4 – Extended Thinking were included in the anaysis
bCategorical Concurrence
Depth-of-Knowledge Consistency
Range-of-Knowledge Correspondence
Balance of Representation
14
What is immediately noticeable are the large differences among the states in the statement of the
standards and the articulation of the specific objectives. Even though all of the standards address
number, State D places an emphasis on reasoning by labeling the standard as “Number Sense,”
State B emphasizes more conceptual and procedural knowledge by labeling its standard as
“Numeration,” and State A extends the conceptual and procedural knowledge to include
symbolic manipulation and draws a relationship between number and algebra by labeling the
standard as “Numerical and Algebraic Concepts and Operations.” The more specific statements
of what students are expected to know and to do, referred to here as objectives, represent the
differences in the emphases of the standards and vary in the depth-of-knowledge (DOK) levels as
rated by the reviewers.
The number of objectives and the range of content addressed by each objective reflect the
organization of knowledge and the structure of knowledge incorporated into the standards. As
indicated above, the structure-of-knowledge comparability criterion was not used in this analysis,
but is necessary to complete a full alignment analysis. The absence of a structure-of-knowledge
analysis is one limitation of this study. If one objective had at least one corresponding assessment
item, then the objective was considered to be addressed. This was true whether the objective was
very broad or narrow. It would be easier for a state to attain an acceptable level on the range-of-
knowledge correspondence for a standard with a lower number of objectives. However,
incorporating large spans of content in one objective is likely to increase the standard’s depth-of-
knowledge level, making it more difficult for the standard and assessment to attain an acceptable
level on that criterion. One important assumption of this analysis is that the criteria are not
independent of each other and multiple criteria need to be incorporated into an analysis to gain a
full understanding of alignment. The fact that one state chose to reduce the specificity of
its expectations by using fewer objectives will not mean that the alignment will be improved on
all criteria.
A review of the general area of geometryprovides similar variations among the states:
State D (grade 8):
VI. Geometric and Spatial Sense Standard
2. Explore transformations of geometric figures. (DOK: 4)
State B (grade 8):
II. Geometry Standard
4. Graph on a coordinate plane similar figures, reflections, and
translations. (DOK: 2)
State A (grade 6):
IV. Geometry and Spatial Sense Standard
D. Investigate and predict the results of transformations of shapes, figures, and
models including slides, flips, and turns. (goal)
1. Identify and describe the results of translations (slides), reflections (flips),
rotations (turns), or glide reflections. (DOK: 2)
15
A review of the standards related to probability and statistics illustrate further the differences
among the states and what expectations were incorporated into the standards:
State D (grade 8):
VII. Data Analysis, Probabilityand Statistics Standard
3. Formulate, predict, and defend positions taken that are based on data collected.
(DOK: 4)
State B (grade 8):
VI. Probability and Statistics Standard
1. Collect data involving 2 variables and display on a scatter plot;
interpret results (DOK: 3)
State A (grade 6):
VI. Probability and Statistics Standard
E. Make and justify predictions based on collected data or experiments, using
technology whenever possible.
1. Evaluate and justify reasoning, inferences, and predictions based on probability
and statistics. (DOK: 3)
2. Make inferences and convincing arguments based on probability and statistics and
evaluate arguments that are based on probability and statistics. (DOK: 4)
For this illustration of the differences in the statement of expectations among the states, only
objectives that addressed nearly the same mathematical topics were included. All three states had
other objectives that stated what students should know and do. States varied the most on number
and geometry. For geometryand in the area of transformation, State B sought to have students
explore the transformation. State B sought to have students graph specific examples of
transformations. State A required students to identify and describe specific types of
transformations. On probability and statistics, there was less variation among the states on
expectations for collecting and analyzing data. Because what states expected their students to
know and do varied, different states were challenged more to measure fully whether students
attain the desired expectations. Such variation in the level of knowledge required to meet the
expectations is reflected in the results of this alignment analysis.
There was no distinct pattern across grade levels and content areas as to which standards and
assessments had an acceptable depth-of-knowledge consistency or failed to meet this criterion.
State A science had a high degree of depth-of-knowledge consistency for grade 3 but not for
grade 8. The reverse was somewhat true for State D science for grades 3 and 7. There was less
variation for mathematics than science, but even within mathematics there was variation in the
degree that depth-of-knowledge consistency was met for different grades. All of the standards
met this criterion for State A grade 6, but only half of the standards met this criterion for State A
grade 3.
There was one interesting trend that requires more data for verification. The two times an
analysis was done of standards and assessments for grade 10 (State B—mathematics; State D—
science), a very low percentage of the standards attained an acceptable criterion of having 50% or
more of the items at or above the depth-of-knowledge level of the corresponding objectives. For
16
State B grade 10 mathematics, none of the standards reached this cutoff point. For State D grade
10 science, only 12% of the standards reached this cutoff point. In both of these states, the
percentage of standards at grade 10 achieving the criterion was below the percentage of standards
that had met this criterion for the middle grade and the elementary grade. This analysis would
suggest that expectations are more rigorous for high school, but that the tests did not reflect these
expectations and actually had students do less complex tasks.
Some differences were observed between the mathematics and science results that may indicate
that reviewers for each of these content areas employed different meanings in their analysis. A
higher proportion of mathematics objectives, than science objectives, was assigned to the highest
level, Level 4 (Extended Thinking). This may implythat the two groups of reviewers, one in
mathematics and one in science, were interpreting the levels differently or it could imply that, in
fact, a greater proportion of the mathematics standards than science standards sought to have
students extend their thinking.
Of the fourteen complete analyses performed, four of the analyses indicate a high depth-of-
knowledge consistency between the standards and the assessments—State A science grade 3
(83%), State A mathematics grade 6 (100%), State C mathematics grades 4 and 8 (100% and
83%, respectively). These four cases illustrate that standards and assessments can be aligned on
this criterion.
Range-of-Knowledge Correspondence
States’ standards and assessments, along with depth-of-knowledge consistency, achieved the
lowest degree of alignment on range-of-knowledge correspondence. The criterion of range-of-
knowledge correspondence considered the proportion of the objectives for a standard that had at
least one related assessment item. On this criterion, at least 50% of the objectives for a standard
had to have a related assessment item or activity to be acceptable. Only State B attained a high
degree of range-of-knowledge correspondence for at least two of the analyses completed across
all grades and content areas (Table 2). State B grade 8 mathematics had 86% of the standards
meet this criterion and grade 10 mathematics had all of its standards meet this criterion. On some
of the analyses conducted, this criterion was not met byany of the standards (State A
mathematics grades 3 and 6; State C mathematics grade 8; and State D science grade 3).
The attainment of the range-of-knowledge correspondence criterion was a function of the number
of objectives and the number of items on the assessment instrument. The states that had more
specific statements of expectations and delineated the range of content for a standard by a greater
number of objectives required more assessment items to be acceptable. All of the assessments
analyzed had an adequate number of items, provided the items were judiciallydistributed among
the objectives so that at least half of the objectives could have at a minimum one item measuring
content related to that objective. However, across the objectives of a standard, items were
generally clustered among a few of the objectives rather than spanning the full range of
objectives. As a consequence, many of the tests were judged to measure students’ knowledge of
only a small proportion of the full domain of content knowledge specified by the standards.
17
The range-of-knowledge correspondence is very similar to thinking about the domain of all
possible assessment activities that could be used to measure students’ knowledge of a standard.
The goals and objectives that describe in more detail what students are expected to know and do
to demonstrate their attainment of the standard serve as more detailed specifications of the
standard. Ideally, to measure a student’s knowledge of a standard, a test would be created that
randomly selected from the domain of all possible items that measure content knowledge related
to the standard. A random sample of items would generally incorporate items measuring some
knowledge from the full range of the objectives, provided of course there are a sufficient number
of items in the sample. In the alignment analysis, all of the objectives for a standard were given
equal weight. It was assumed that the test should include at least one item that measured
knowledge related to each of at least one-half of the objectives. This is a very lenient
requirement. If students are tested on only one-half of a body of knowledge, then there is a large
amount of knowledge for which we have no measure of either what a student can or cannot do.
The results in this analysis need to be interpreted with an understanding of the underlying
assumptions. Since the general knowledge of constructing standards and using standards to drive
educational change is relatively new, we simply do not know at this time all of the characteristics
a test should assume to measure a set of standards or how a set of standards should be
constructed.
There are reasons why the full range of objectives is not assessed. For example, the development
of assessment items for some objectives is more difficult than for other objectives. Some states
depend on teachers to write the assessment items and then select from the available item pool.
Such pools may be weak on items measuring some objectives. Even with clear test
specifications, the availabilityof valid assessment items and activities will limit what objectives
can be assessed by a test. Thus, the low alignment on range-of-knowledge correspondence could
occur for a number of reasons. The interpretation of this criterion needs to be made in the context
of the assessment development process.
Balance of Representation
Most of the assessments and standards analyzed were aligned according to the balance of
representation. One explanation for this is that the number of objectives is greater than the
number of items and there are few items measuring anyone objective. Of fourteen complete
analyses conducted, 13 found that 80% or more of the standards and the assessments had an
acceptable balance of representation (Table 2). Seven of the analyses indicated that the criterion
was fully met by all of the standards. In order for the balance-of-representation criterion to be
met, the assessment items had to be nearlyevenly distributed among the objectives, for a
standard that had at least one corresponding assessment item. The balance-of-representation
criterion was met by 71% of the standards for State B grade 8 mathematics, and by 90% of the
standards for State D’s grade 4 mathematics and 80% for its grade 8 mathematics. One standard
common to both States B and D that did not meet the balance-of-representation criterion is
related to number and computation—State B Standard VII (Computation) and State D Standard
V (Number Sense). For these standards, the assessment instruments tended to over-emphasize
one form of computation related to one objective compared to the other objectives for these
standards.
18
Reviewer Agreement in Coding
Reviewers had high agreement in judging whether the alignment between an assessment and
standards on a criterion was acceptable or not. The average percentage agreement across all of
the standards for a content area and grade level among the reviewers ranged from 71% to 100%
(Table 3). Reviewers had the highest agreement on judging whether a standard had 6 or more
items, the acceptable level for categorical concurrence. The average overall agreement on the
sixteen analyses for categorical concurrence was 94%. Reviewers agreed the least on judging
whether the 50% or more of the items related to a standard had a depth-of-knowledge level that
was the same as or above that of the corresponding objective within the standard. The average
overall agreement on the sixteen analyses for depth-of-knowledge was 83%. Reviewers’
agreement on range-of-correspondence (with an acceptable level of 50% or more of the
objectives hit) and on balance-of representation (with an acceptable level of the index value of .7
or higher) was, on the average, 91%.
Table 3
Average Percent Across Standards of Reviewers’ Agreement on Acceptable Level for Criterion
Criterion
State Content Grade Reviewer Cat.
Concurr. Depth of
Knowledge Range Balance
N Avg % Avg % Avg % Avg %
State A Science 3 5 87 77 90 97
8 3 92 75 89 89
Mathematics 3 4 92 79 92 88
6 4 100 79 88 88
State B Mathematics 4 2 100 93 93 93
8 3 100 81 100 95
10 2 100 88 100 100
State C Science 4 5 100 84 100 100
8 5 96 84 100 100
Mathematics 4 3 100 100 83 78
8 4 89 89 100 100
State D Science 3 6 83 83 88 92
7 6 88 71 85 92
10 6 90 79 81 85
Mathematics 4 7 91 84 87 72
8 7 93 77 74 84
Average 94 83 91 91
19
Summary of Findings on Alignment Criteria
This analysis identified specific ways that a state’s standards and assessments were aligned. State
standards and assessments varied in meeting the cutoff points among the four criteria. This
supports the contention that the relationship between standards and assessments can vary on
different dimensions and that a number of criteria are needed to judge their alignment. Depth-of-
knowledge consistency and range-of-knowledge correspondence were the two criteria that were
achieved by the lowest proportion of standards and assessments. In these cases, too manyof the
assessment items were at a level of knowledge below that of the objective the item was to
measure and too few of the objectives for a standard had related items on the assessment.
States varied in the degree to which their assessment and standards were aligned. State B had
high alignment for three grades in mathematics, except on depth-of-knowledge consistency. State
C had high alignment for two grades in mathematics except on range-of-knowledge
correspondence. The alignment for States A and D varied by content area (science and
mathematics) and by grade level. A lower percentage of standards and assessments for science
met the categorical concurrence criterion than for mathematics. This indicates that the science
assessments did not have an adequate number of items measuring each standard for a larger
proportion of the standards than for mathematics. Most of the standards and assessments
analyzed did have an acceptable balance-of-representation.
Findings: The Process for Studying Alignment
An important goal for this project was to develop valid procedures for performing alignment
analyses of standards and assessments. This was the first time that an analysis was done using
these alignment criteria. As important as providing states with some feedback on the alignment
between their standards and assessments was the refinement of procedures for studying
alignment. The steps in the process employed in this alignment analysis included:
1. Identify criteria and acceptable levels
2. Identify expectations and assessments for the state
3. Develop the coding matrix for each content area and grade level
4. Train reviewers
5. Have reviewers code assessment items in relation to objectives
6. Enter data codes onto spreadsheet
7. Analyze data
8. Prepare summary data tables
9. Report results
Reviewers at the four-day institute were not given extensive training at the beginningof the
institute. This was done for a reason. The panel of experts was to actively engage in defining and
clarifying the process. This took place as reviewers analyzed the standards and assessments state
by state and grade by grade. At the end of each analysis they discussed their findings and the
process. At the end of the four days, theyengaged in a debriefing that clarified very specific ways
the process could be improved. A number of recommendations were made for improving the
process and for studying the alignment between standards and assessments.
20
Reviewers and Their Training
Reviewers need to include those who are content-area experts. Reviewers reported they had to
consider deeply the knowledge required for a student to successfullyanswer an item. This
concentrated analysis was required even if the assessment item was at a level of recall (Level 1)
or skill/concept (Level 2). In addition to content-area experts, it was also helpful to include on
the panel those knowledgeable about a state’s standards and assessments. At different times
during an analysis, reviewers had questions about the context regarding how the standards and
assessments were to be used and how these documents were developed. For example,
determining the depth-of-knowledge level of some assessment items depended on knowing what
materials and equipment are normally available to students, such as calculators and measuring
devices. It would be almost impossible for an external panel to synthesize all of the necessary
information about the standards and assessments without a significant amount of time and effort.
Having persons with this knowledge participating in the analysis was very helpful and made it
possible to answer reviewers’ questions on the spot.
Reviewers need some training and calibration before doing any of the coding. It was not
necessary to spend an excessive amount of time in training, particularly if there were three or
more reviewers. Averaging the coding results among the reviewers helped account for
differences in coding. At the summer institute, reviewers improved in their agreement as they
continued to code. Because only marginal statistics were used in the analysis (totals for an
objective and standard), it was not necessaryfor reviewers to have exact item-by-item agreement.
Adequate training could consist of having reviewers code the first three or four items together,
followed by a discussion of the results. This process could then be repeated for the next three or
four items until reviewers reach consistency in their coding and understand the procedures.
Training also could be done by having the reviewers code pre-selected anchor assessment items.
Checks of reviewer agreement can be incorporated at different points until there is sufficient
evidence that they are interpreting the depth-of-knowledge levels, the standards, and the
assessment items in the same way.
Reviewers began each analysis by assigning a depth-of-knowledge level to each objective for a
standard. This served two purposes: First, it provided a means for comparing the depth-of-
knowledge levels for objectives with the assessment items. Its second purpose was to better
acquaint the reviewers with the objectives, goals, and standards. Because reviewers had to reach
consensus on the depth-of-knowledge level for each objective, this forced them to consider each
objective in some detail.
A critical aspect of the training is for the reviewers to understand the four depth-of-knowledge
levels. This requires the reviewers to discuss the verbs and other signals they can use to make the
distinctions among the levels. Reviewers did become tainted or less effective over time as a
result of rating more than one state. Reviewers had difficulty retaining in their minds how
objectives were worded when they coded documents from two states one after the other. This
caused reviewers to become more fatigued and to make more mistakes. Recalibration was
important. Some consideration should be given to completing the analysis of the standards and
assessments from a given state in one day. Reviewers did experience some interference in their
thinking in trying to recall and locate objectives that matched assessment items. It was difficult
21
for reviewers to retain in their minds the content objectives they had to consider after coding over
a long time.
Coding process. Reviewers needed help and direction in identifying the central piece of
knowledge measured by, and the main purpose for, an assessment task, item, or activity. Because
reviewers were able to code an assessment item as related to multiple objectives, reviewers
initially differed greatly in how theyinterpreted what was being assessed by an item. Any item
that included a number could be coded as related to number sense. If the standards included
“process” standards, then some reviewers developed their own rules that included each item that
had to be coded as related to one process standard and one content standard. For example, some
of the states had a standard on communication. Initially, some reviewers coded nearly all of the
items as related to a communication standard because it required students to read the question. In
order to gain stronger agreement among themselves, reviewers developed decision rules, such as
coding on the central content knowledge being measured by an item and limiting the number of
multiple hits to two or three.
Another decision rule had to be developed on how to consider the context or situation for an
assessment item or activity. Some assessment items in both mathematics and science are
embedded in a specific context or situation. How reviewers interpreted the context had an impact
on what objective they assigned an item to and the depth-of-knowledge level theyassigned to the
item. For example, some objectives required students to apply their knowledge to a “real-world”
problem. Initially, some reviewers coded any storyproblem as a real-world problem. After being
confronted with the need to make some distinctions in the interpretation of context, three ways
were identified for addressing contextuallyembedded assessment items.
1. Superfluous context. The context was only superficial and did not significantly affect
students’ demonstration of their content knowledge, which was the main intent of the item.
2. Integral context. The context was integral to the assessment item and students’ understanding
of the content would be different outside of the included context.
3. Partial context. The context is separate, but essential for students to successfully demonstrate
the knowledge being measured. For example, students may have to read data from a table or a
menu in order to find a value for a routine computation problem. Whereas the computation
problem is context free, the student had to abstract information from a simulated situation.
Levels for Determining Depth of Knowledge
Interpreting and assigning depth-of-knowledge levels to both objectives within standards and
assessment items is an essential requirement of this alignment analysis. The panel of reviewers
agreed that four levels were an adequate number for the purpose of comparing the standards with
the assessments. However, Level 2 (Skill/Concept) was used most frequentlyand did not
distinguish among a large number of items and standards. As applied in this analysis, Level 2
was interpreted very broadly—from performing simple procedures to implementing somewhat
complex procedures. In contrast, Level 1 (Recall) was frequently interpreted very narrowly
strict recall of memorized facts and information—rather than including other routinized work,
22
such as using a memorized algorithm. The analysis helped the reviewers to clarify how theyused
the different levels:
Level 1 (Recall) includes the recall of information such as a fact, definition, term, or a simple
procedure, as well as performing a simple algorithm or applying a formula. That is, in
mathematics a one-step, well-defined, and straight algorithmic procedure should be included at
this lowest level. In science, a simple experimental procedure including one or two steps should
be coded as Level 1. Other key words that signify a Level 1 include “identify,” “recall,”
“recognize,” “use,” and “measure.” Verbs such as “describe” and “explain” could be classified at
different levels depending on what is to be described and explained.
Level 2 (Skill/Concept) includes the engagement of some mental processingbeyond an habitual
response. A Level 2 assessment item requires students to make some decisions as to how to
approach the problem or activity, whereas Level 1 requires students to demonstrate a rote
response, perform a well-known algorithm, follow a set procedure (like a recipe), or perform a
clearly defined series of steps. Key words that generally distinguish a Level 2 item include
“classify,” “organize,” ”estimate,” “make observations,” “collect and display data,” and
“compare data.” These actions imply more than one step. For example, to compare data requires
first identifying characteristics of the objects or phenomenon and then grouping or ordering the
objects. Some action verbs, such as “explain,” “describe,” or “interpret” could be classified at
different levels depending on the object of the action. For example, if an item required students
to explain how light affects mass by indicating there is a relationship between light and heat, this
was considered a Level 2. Interpreting information from a simple graph, requiring reading
information from the graph, also is a Level 2. Interpreting information from a complex graph that
requires some decisions on what features of the graph need to be considered and how information
from the graph can be aggregated is a Level 3. Caution is warranted in interpreting Level 2 as
only skills because some reviewers will interpret skills very narrowly, as primarily numerical
skills, and such interpretation excludes from this level other skills such as visualization skills and
probability skills, which may be more complex simply because they are less common. Other
Level 2 activities include explaining the purpose and use of experimental procedures; carrying
out experimental procedures; making observations and collecting data; classifying, organizing,
and comparing data; and organizing and displaying data in tables, graphs, and charts.
Level 3 (Strategic Thinking) requires reasoning, planning, using evidence, and a higher level of
thinking than the previous two levels. In most instances, requiring students to explain their
thinking is a Level 3. Activities that require students to make conjectures are also at this level.
The cognitive demands at Level 3 are complex and abstract. The complexitydoes not result from
the fact that there are multiple answers, a possibility for both Levels 1 and 2, but because the task
requires more demanding reasoning. An activity, however, that has more than one possible
answer and requires students to justify the response they give would most likely be a Level 3.
Other Level 3 activities include drawing conclusions from observations; citing evidence and
developing a logical argument for concepts; explaining phenomena in terms of concepts; and
using concepts to solve problems.
Level 4 (Extended Thinking) requires complex reasoning, planning, developing, and thinking
most likely over an extended period of time. The extended time period is not a distinguishing
23
factor if the required work is only repetitive and does not require applying significant conceptual
understanding and higher-order thinking. For example, if a student has to take the water
temperature from a river each day for a month and then construct a graph, this would be
classified as a Level 2. However, if the student is to conduct a river study that requires taking into
consideration a number of variables, this would be a Level 4. At Level 4, the cognitive demands
of the task should be high and the work should be very complex. Students should be required to
make several connections—relate ideas within thecontentareaoramong content areas—and
have to select one approach among many alternatives on how the situation should be solved, in
order to be at this highest level. Level 4 activities include designing and conductingexperiments;
making connections between a finding and related concepts and phenomena; combining and
synthesizing ideas into new concepts; and critiquing experimental designs.
Reviewers faced other issues in deciding on the depth-of-knowledge level to assign both
objectives and assessment items. Certain verbs needed clarification, such as “research,”
“investigate,” and “demonstrate.” These verbs could be interpreted in different ways, making it
more difficult for the reviewers to designate a specific depth-of-knowledge level. For example,
sometimes the word “research” was intended to mean that students were expected to look for a
term in an encyclopedia and, at other times, “research” indicated that students were to conduct a
very complex study. It was difficult to assign a level of complexity to a standard byjust using key
words without further clarification of the underlying intent of the word. Sometimes this required
going beyond the statement of the objective, seeking an example, or considering how the word
was used at other grade levels or elsewhere in the documents. In a few cases, it was not possible
to be entirely sure how a word was being used. Having input from someone from the state who
was knowledgeable about the full intent of the standards was helpful in these situations. There
also was an interaction between content and depth-of-knowledge that would influence what
depth-of-knowledge level was assigned to an assessment item. An item that requires the recall of
a complex or abstract concept is at a higher depth-of-knowledge level than one that onlyrequires
the student to recall a simple fact. In addition, the format of an assessment item was a
confounding factor in assigning the depth-of-knowledge level to an item. Both a multiple-choice
item and an open-response item could require students to interpret a graph, but the multiple-
choice item could be a Level 2 and the open-response item a Level 3. Figure 1 provides an
illustration of this. The open-response version of this assessment item has a depth-of-knowledge
level of 3 (Strategic Thinking), whereas the fixed-response version has a depth-of-knowledge
level of 2 (Skill/Concept). The fixed-response item can be worked by eliminating the given
choices.
Coding procedures. Reviewers need some context for interpreting the standards and the
assessments. This could include a brief summary of what the intended purposes for the standards
and assessments were for the state, a list of supporting documents that express the goals of the
curriculum and the assessments, how the assessments are to be scored, how the results are to be
reported, and some of the supporting documents. A curriculum framework, in addition to the
statement of standards, was helpful in interpreting specific words and the underlying meaning of
the standards.
24
Open-Response Version Fixed-Response Version
A carpenter makes two types of stools.
One type of stool has three legs and one
type has four legs. Both stool types use
the same style of legs. There are 33 legs.
How many of each type of stool can the
carpenter make, using all of the legs, to
have the greatest number of stools?
A carpenter makes two types of stools. One
type of stool has three legs and one type has
four legs. Both stool types use the same style
of legs. There are 33 legs. How many of each
type of stool can the carpenter make, using all
of the legs, to have the greatest number of
stools?
A.3with3legsand6with4legs
B.5with3legsand5with4legs
C.7with3legsand3with4legs
D.9with3legsand2with4legs
Figure 1. Example of two assessment items with the same stem, but rated at different
depth-of-knowledge levels (Level 3 for the open-response version, and Level 2 for the fixed
response version).
At most, three categories of expectations were used in this analysis—standards, goals, and
objectives. Some states use more than three categories of expectations. For example, in addition
to these three, some states also identify performance standards and indicators. It is not always
clear what the most specific category of expectations for student learning should be in the
analysis. In anyanalysis, the categoryof expectations that will constitute the level of analysis
needs to be clearly specified before beginning the analysis. For most states, but not for all, the
most specific statement of expectations should be used. However, State C in this analysis
reported student attainment of indicators at the middle category of expectations and not at the
most specific category. The most specific category of expectations recorded in its standards
document included illustrative examples of what students should be able to do, but was not
intended to cover the full span of knowledge as expressed in what was called the “indicator.”
This analysis assumed that expectations would be expressed in nested categories, with the
standard being the most general, then goal, and then objective. It was found in some cases that
the sum of the parts did not always represent the whole. For example, all of the objectives for a
goal may be coded at one depth-of-knowledge level, say a Level 2. However, the goal
incorporating all of those objectives may be coded at a higher level, say a Level 3 or 4. This is
one issue that arose, but was not resolved. The problem derives from how standards are written.
One benefit from doing additional analyses of standards and assessments, such as an alignment
analysis, is to identify these situations. One of the possibilities for addressing such a situation
would be for an assessment to include items at a depth-of-knowledge level that are comparable to
that of the goal, but not to any of the specified objectives.
A clear procedure is needed for coding assessment activities that do not match any of the
objectives or the categoryof expectations being compared with assessment activities. For
25
example, sometimes an item measured content knowledge for a goal, but not content knowledge
for any of the listed objectives under that goal. In this analysis, when this situation arose, a
general objective was inserted and the item was coded as related to this general objective and not
to any of the listed objectives. For example, if an item did not match any of the objectives under
Living Systems, but it did fit the goal, then the item was coded as related to the general goal
heading of Living Systems. This meant that the coding matrix required one row for the more
general category—standard or goal—above the level being coded. Some items did not match any
of the standards, goals, or objectives. Some procedures are needed to handle the coding of these
items. For example, science reviewers judged that an item on birds and shadows did not fit
anything because it was not science. A miscellaneous category, in addition to all of the standards,
was needed at each grade level to handle these situations.
Some reviewers felt that there should have been a way to code a near match as well as an exact
match. Most of the objectives were robust and covered a range of knowledge, not all of which
required the same depth-of-knowledge level of understanding. When trying to relate assessment
items to such objectives, reviewers found that an item sometimes matched the objective to some
degree, but not exactly for the intended grade. Reviewers estimated that they found exact
matches for about 10% to 20% of the items, a near match for about 60% to 70% of the items, and
no match for the remainder of items. Distinguishing between near matches and exact matches
may help the coding process, but it would add to the problems for doing the analyses.
Limitations of the Alignment Analysis
Some limitations to the analysis were revealed both in the coding and in the aggregating of
results. Some of these limitations can be addressed in the design of other alignment studies, but
some are more inherent in standards and standards-based education. One issue that was revealed
was that assessments could include items targeted for more than one grade level. For example,
State A’s middle grade test included items for both grades 7 and 8. The grade 8 items actually
were intended to measure a higher level of student knowledge than stated in the grade 7 standards
used in the alignment analysis. This meant there was some misalignment bydesign. Again, this
and other issues can be revealed and incorporated in the reporting of the results if those who are
knowledgeable about the full intent and specifications for the standards and assessments are
included on the panel of reviewers.
If an analysis involves multiple states in one session, as in this case, the order in which the state
analyses are done is important. The differences in the level of specificity, or the gain size, of the
standards for the different states is a critical factor. It is better to begin with a state with the most
specific standards and objectives and one that has a range of examples than one with standards
that are more difficult to decipher. Also, a state with performance indicators will be easier for
reviewers to interpret, which will help in their development as effective coders. Of the states
included in the review, the order should have been State C (one with clear performance
indicators that helped to bridge the gap between a standard and an indicator for assessment),
State D (most complex), State A, and State B.
Reviewers were specificallyinstructed to judge neither the qualities of the assessment items nor
the standards, but to focus their attention on judging how the assessment items matched the
26
expectations for student learning as stated. This was problematic for some of the reviewers. For
one state, State D, all of the reviewers found one or more items on the grade 3 science
assessment that they felt did not measure science and that they excluded from the analysis. Also,
State D science standards expected grade 8 students to have a conceptual and scientific
understanding about cells that has only been developed within the last ten years—a
conceptualization that some reviewers felt was too advanced for middle school students. Because
reviewers were asked to focus on the alignment between expectations and assessments, the
results and reports of the quantitative analysis did not represent all of what the reviewers had
learned and understood about each state’s system. Some method is needed, such as debriefing the
reviewers or having reviewers write their impressions of the standards and assessments, for
gathering all of the information that the reviewers have gained from the process.
For the lowest level of analysis, in this case the objective, the analysis does not indicate the
degree to which items span the entire domain of possible items for that objective. Multiple items
coded for an objective could all measure a narrow range of knowledge included in the objective.
This could be problematic and needs to be looked at further. For example, whereas one objective
required students to describe, create, extend, and form a generalization of a pattern, nearly all of
the items reviewed required students only to extend a pattern. Even though the analysis indicated
there was alignment, a large number of items coded for that objective only covered a small range
of the possible content. The current system distinguishes items only at the objective level. It does
not indicate whether the set of items constituted an adequate sampling from the domain of all
possible items for that objective. For a more refined analysis, there is a need to include some
means for identifying the degree to which assessments cover the full span of knowledge for an
objective and are of a high quality.
Setting an Acceptable Level for Alignment Criteria
Even though this analysis used the same acceptable level to judge the alignment between
standards and assessments for all four states, this may not be appropriate because the different
states had different purposes for the standards and assessments. Some states prepared standards
to influence classroom practices. Other states designed their assessments more for accountability
purposes. Along with states having different purposes, it is impractical if not impossible to assess
all of the important learning goals on an on-demand assessment. Some of the states expected
some of the standards and learning objectives to be assessed by teachers in their classrooms.
These and other factors need to be taken into consideration in judging how much alignment is
“good enough.” Because states will vary in how theyuse standards and assessments, some
consideration needs to be given to the acceptable levels by which the criteria should varyby
state.
In addition to different purposes, states use different procedures for sampling what items are
included on an assessment and for sampling the content knowledge to be assessed on anyone
test. States recognize that any test is only a sample of all possible items. One strategystates use
to address the issue of adequately sampling content is to test different parts of the desired body of
knowledge in different years. Over a span of three or four years, different tests will be
administered in a series, so that the full range of content knowledge is tested. In this situation, the
27
entire series of the tests should be included in the alignment analysis rather than the test for only
one year.
Recommendations for Improving the Process
The general sequence of steps employed in this analysis (see page 9) was found to work well. As
many as seven and as few as two reviewers analyzed the agreement between the standards and
assessments for a grade level and content area. The means among the reviewers were reported.
Even when only two reviewers analyzed the alignment, they reached strong agreement on most
marginal statistics reported. Having at least three reviewers, however, added more assurance to
the results. It is recommended that at least three reviewers be used in coding the assessment
items. Because of the number of items and the use of multiple hits, it was difficult and too time-
consuming to accurately check on reviewer agreement during the coding process. Therefore,
using three or more reviewers increased the likelihood that the results would be more stable.
Based on the analysis and comments from the reviewers, the following recommendations were
made to improve the alignment analysis:
1. Incorporate more training to enable reviewers to reach a common understanding of the depth-
of-knowledge levels. This training does not need to be extensive and could be done with
selected items and standards.
2. Add a means for enabling reviewers to comment, or provide their commentary, on the quality
of individual standards and assessment items.
3. Provide reviewers further guidelines for identifying what knowledge is measured by an
assessment item and what range of knowledge a student is expected to exhibit as expressed in
a standard, goal, or objective.
4. Provide reviewers with specific rules and limits for coding an item as being related to more
than one objective.
5. Report for each standard the distribution of coded items by the depth-of-knowledge level.
Conclusions
This study verifies that the stated criteria can be effectively used to structure an analysis of the
degree that standards and assessments are aligned. The four criteria—categorical concurrence,
depth-of-knowledge consistency, range-of-knowledge correspondence, and balance of
representation—were all successfully applied to analyze the assessments and standards of four
states. The criteria were applicable even though the structure of the standards and assessments
varied greatly among the states. Based on the analyses performed, clear differences among the
states were evident, along with common issues faced by all. A high percentage of standards and
assessments across the four states failed to achieve depth-of-knowledge consistency. In general,
too high a frequency of items were below the depth-of-knowledge level of the corresponding
objectives for there to be alignment. One benefit to doing an analysis based on specific criteria,
28
such as those used in this study, is that specific feedback could be provided to states on what
needs to be done to improve alignment. The procedures need to be refined and reviewers need
more training as indicated in the previous section. However, the criteria and the underlying
structure of the analysis proved to be viable for detecting the degree of alignment between
assessments and standards and how alignment can be improved.
29
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Consortium for Policy Research in Education. (1991). Putting the pieces together: Systemic
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Office.
Webb, N. L. (1997). Criteria for alignment of expectations and assessments in mathematics and
science education. Council of Chief State School Officers and National Institute for
Science Education Research Monograph No. 6. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin.
Webb, N. L. (1999a). State A: Alignment between standards and assessments in science for
grades 3 and 8 and mathematics for grades 3 and 6. Council of Chief State School
Officers and National Institute for Science Education. Madison, WI: Universityof
Wisconsin, Wisconsin Center for Education Research.
Webb, N. L. (1999b). State B: Alignment between standards and assessments in mathematics for
grades 4, 8, and 10. Council of Chief State School Officers and National Institute for
Science Education. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Center for
Education Research.
Webb, N. L. (1999c). State C: Alignment between standards and assessments in science for
grades 4 and 8 and mathematics for grades 4 and 8. Council of Chief State School
Officers and National Institute for Science Education. Madison, WI: Universityof
Wisconsin, Wisconsin Center for Education Research.
Webb, N. L. (1999d). State D: Alignment between standards and assessments in science for
grades 3, 7, and 10 and mathematics for grades 4 and 8. Council of Chief State School
Officers and National Institute for Science Education. Madison, WI: Universityof
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Wixcon, K. K., Fisk, M. C., Dutro, E., & McDaniel, J. (1999). The alignment of state standards
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31
Appendix A
Criteria for Alignment of Expectations and Assessments in Mathematics and Science
Education
1 – Content Focus. System components should focus consistently on developing students’
knowledge of subject matter. Consistencywill be present to the extent components’ logic of
action and the ends achieved share the following attributes:
A. Categorical Concurrence. Agreement in content topics addressed.
B. Depth-of-Knowledge Consistency. Agreement in level of cognitive complexityof
information required.
C. Range-of-Knowledge Correspondence. Agreement in the span of topics.
D. Structure-of-Knowledge Comparability. Agreement in what it means to know concepts.
E. Balance of Representation. Agreement in emphasis given to different content topics.
F. Dispositional Consonance. Agreement in attention to students’ attitudes and beliefs.
2 – Articulation Across Grades and Ages. Students’ knowledge of subject matter grows over
time. All system components must be rooted in a common view of how students develop, and
how best to help them learn at different developmental stages. This common view is based on:
A. Cognitive Soundness Determined by Superior Research and Understanding.All
components build on principles for sound learning programs.
B. Cumulative Growth in Knowledge During Students’ Schooling. All components are
based on a common rationale regarding progress in student learning.
3 – Equity and Fairness. When expectations are that all students can meet high standards,
aligned instruction, assessments, and resources must give every student a reasonable
opportunity to demonstrate attainment of what is expected. System components that are aligned
will serve the full diversity in the education system through demanding equallyhigh learning
standards for all students while fairly providing means for students to achieve and demonstrate
the expected level of learning. To be equitable and fair, time is required for patterns to form in
order to decipher how system components are working in concert with each other. Judging a
system on the criterion of equity and fairness will require analysis over a period of time.
4 – Pedagogical Implications. Classroom practice greatlyinfluences what students learn.
Other system components, including expectations and assessments, can and should have a
strong impact on these practices, and should send clear and consistent messagesto teachers
about appropriate pedagogy. Critical elements to be considered in judgingalignment related to
pedagogy include:
A. Engagement of Students and Effective Classroom Practices. Agreement among
components in a range of learning activities and in what theyare to attain.
B. Use of Technology, Materials, and Tools. Agreement among components in how and to
what ends applications of technology, materials, and tools are to be included.
5 – System Applicability. Although system components should seek to encourage high
expectations for student performance, they also need to form the basis for a program that is
realistic and manageable in the real world. The policy elementsmust be in a form that can be
used by teachers and administrators in a day-to-daysetting. Also, the public must feel that these
elements are credible, and that they are aimed at getting students to learn the mathematics and
science that are important and useful in society.
33
Appendix B
Sample of Tables Included in Each State Report:
State A Grade 8 Science
Table AS8-1
Categorical Concurrence Between Standards and Assessment as Rated by Three Reviewers
State A–Grade 8 Science
(Total Number of Assessment Items—60 Multiple Choice, 4 Open-Response, 6 Open-Ended, Total 70 Items)
Standards Level by Objective Hits
Title Goals
#Objs
#Level #of
objs
by
Level
%
w/in
std by
Level
Mean S.D.
Categorical
Concurr.
Acceptable
1. Process Skills 726 1
2
3
4
14
8
15
54
31 13.00 4.00 Yes
2. Plan and Conduct
Investigations 4 29 1
2
3
4
3
12
13
1
10
41
45
3
3.33 4.93 No
3. Area I: Living Things 39 1
2
3
1
4
4
11
44
44 16.00 2.65 Yes
4. Area II: Earth and
Space Systems 3 15 2
313
287
13 17.00 3.00 Yes
5. Area III: Matter and
Energy 3 11a1
2
3
1
8
2
9
73
18 17.67 1.15 Yes
6. Area IV: Applications 37 2
3
4
3
3
1
43
43
14 5.00 2.00 No
Total 29 97 1
2
3
4
9
54
32
2
9
56
33
2
72.00 2.65
aObjective 5.4.3 was inadvertently omitted from the coding sheet (Describe and give examples of how forces transfer energy from one object to another).
Table AS8-2
Depth-of-Knowledge Consistency Between Standards and Assessment as Rated by Three Reviewers
State A–Grade 8 Science
(Total Number of Assessment Items—60 Multiple Choice, 4 Open-Response, 6 Open-Ended, Total 70 Items)
Level of Item w.r.t. Standard
Standards Level by Objective Hits % Under % At % Above
Title Goals
#Objs
#Level # of
objs %/st
dM S.D. M S.D. M S.D. M S.D.
Depth-of-
Knowledge
Consistency
Acceptable
1. Process Skills 726 1
2
3
4
14
8
15
54
31 13.00 4.00 54 13 39 5 7 12 Weak
2. Plan and
Conduct
Investigations 429 1
2
3
4
3
12
13
1
10
41
45
3
3.33 4.93 18 31 49 50 0 0 Undetermined
3. Area I: Living
Things 3 9 1
2
3
1
4
4
11
44
44 16.00 2.65 36 28 55 30 4 8 Yes
4. Area II: Earth
& Space Sys. 3 15 2
313
287
13 17.00 3.00 67 18 28 16 6 10 No
5. Area III: Matter
and Energy 3 11a1
2
3
1
8
2
9
73
18 17.67 1.15 50 16 36 15 14 25 Weak
6. Area IV:
Applications 3 7 2
3
4
3
3
1
43
43
14 5.00 2.00 79 19 21 19 0 0 No
Total 29 97 1
2
3
4
9
54
32
2
9
56
33
2
72.00 2.65 54 27 39 25 7 11
aObjective 5.4.3 was inadvertently omitted from the coding sheet (Describe and give examples of how forces transfer energy from one object to another).
Table AS8-3
Range-of-Knowledge Correspondence and Balance of Representation Between Standards and Assessment as Rated by Three Reviewers
State A–Grade 8 Science
(Total Number of Assessment Items—60 Multiple Choice, 4 Open-Response, 6 Open-Ended, Total 70 Items)
Range of Objectives Balance Index
(1 perfect—0 no balance)
Standards
Level by Objective
Level 1=Recall
Level 4=Complex
Reasoning
Hits # Objs Hit % of Total
Range of
Knowledge
Acceptable % Hits in
Std/Ttl Hits Index
Balance of
Representation
Acceptable
Title Goals
#Objs
#Level # of
objs %/std Mean S.D. Mean S.D. Mean S.D. Mean S.D. Mean S.D.
1. Process
Skills 7261
2
3
4
14
8
15
54
31 13.00 4.00 6.33 1.53 24 6 No 18 5 .73 .09 Yes
2. Plan and
Conduct
Investigations 4291
2
3
4
3
12
13
1
10
41
45
3
3.33 4.93 2.00 2.65 7 9 No 5 7 .61 .53 Yes
3. Area I: Living
Things 391
2
3
1
4
4
11
44
44 16.00 2.65 6.67 1.53 69 17 Yes 22 4 .75 .10 Yes
4. Area II: Earth
and Space
Systems 3152
313
287
13 17.00 3.00 10.67 1.53 71 10 Yes 24 4 .79 .02 Yes
5. Area III:
Matter and
Energy 311a1
2
3
1
8
2
9
73
18 17.67 1.15 6.00 1.00 52 11 Weak 25 2 .72 .02 Yes
6. Area IV:
Applications 372
3
4
3
3
1
43
43
14 5.00 2.00 3.33 1.15 45 15 No 7 3 .82 .03 Yes
Total 29 97 1
2
3
4
9
54
32
2
9
56
33
2
72.00 2.65 5.83 3.15 45 26 17 9 .74 .20
aObjective 5.4.3 was inadvertently omitted from the coding sheet (Describe and give examples of how forces transfer energy from one object to another).
Table AS8-4
Summary of Attainment of Acceptable Alignment Level on Four Content Focus Criteria
State A–Grade 8 Science
(Total Number of Assessment Items—60 Multiple Choice, 4 Open-Response, 6 Open-Ended, Total 70 items)
Alignment Criteria
Standards
Categorical
Concurrence Depth-of-
Knowledge
Consistency
Range of
Knowledge Balance of
Representation
1. Process Skills YES WEAK NO YES
2. Plan and Conduct
Investigations
NO UNDETERMINED NO YES
3. Area I: Living
Things
YES YES YES YES
4. Area II: Earth and
Space Systems
YES NO YES YES
5. Area III: Matter and
Energy
YES WEAK WEAK YES
6. Area IV:
Applications
NO NO NO YES
State A
Grade 3 Mathematics Alignment Analysis Tables
Table AM3-1
Categorical Concurrence between Standards and Assessment as Rated by Four Raters
State A--Grade 3 Mathematics
(Number of Assessment Items?38 multiple choice and 12 open-response for a total of 50 items)
Standards Level by Objective Hits
Title Goals
# Objs
# Level # of objs
by Level % w/in std
by Level Mean S.D.
Categorical
Concurr.
Acceptable
1. Number and
Numeration Systems 4 20
1
2
3
4
3
13
3
1
15
65
15
5
10.75 2.87 Yes
2. Numerical and
Algebraic Concepts and
Operations 7 25
1
2
3
4
3
12
9
1
12
48
36
4
18.50 4.80 Yes
3. Patterns, Relationships,
and Functions 5 7 2
3
4
2
3
2
28
43
28 3.25 1.89 No
4. Geometry and Spatial
Sense 7 19
1
2
3
4
6
5
5
3
32
26
26
16
9.25 0.96 Yes
5. Measurement
7 17
1
2
3
4
2
11
2
2
12
64
12
12
16.00 1.15 Yes
6. Probability and
Statistics 3 6 2
3
4
1
2
3
17
33
50 5.25 0.50 Weak
Total 33 94
1
2
3
4
14
44
24
12
15
45
26
13
63.00 6.22
Table AM3-2
Depth-of-Knowledge Consistency between Standards and Assessment as Rated by Four Raters
State A--Grade 3 Mathematics
(Number of Assessment Items?38 multiple choice and 12 open-response for a total of 50 items)
Level of Item w.r.t. Standard
Standards Level by Objective Hits % Under % At % Above
Title Goals
# Objs
# Level # of
objs %/std M S.D. M S.D. M S.D. M S.D.
Depth-of-Knowledge
Consistency
Acceptable
1. Number and
Numeration
Systems 4 20
1
2
3
4
3
13
3
1
15
65
15
5
10.75 2.87 25 12 69 17 6 7 Yes
2. Numerical and
Algebraic
Concepts and
Operations
7 25
1
2
3
4
3
12
9
1
12
48
36
4
18.50 4.80 41 19 47 19 12 9 Yes
3. Patterns,
Relationships, and
Functions 5 7 2
3
4
2
3
2
28
43
28 3.25 1.89 54 42 46 42 0 0 Weak
4. Geometry and
Spatial Sense 7 19
1
2
3
4
6
5
5
3
32
26
26
16
9.25 0.96 68 13 20 14 13 8 No
5. Measurement
7 17
1
2
3
4
2
11
2
2
12
64
12
12
16.00 1.15 14 8 69 21 16 14 Yes
6. Probability and
Statistics 3 6 2
3
4
1
2
3
17
33
50 5.25 0.50 77 31 15 17 8 17 No
Total 33 94
1
2
3
4
14
44
24
12
15
45
26
13
63.00 6.22 39 31 50 30 11 11
Table AM3-3
Range-of-Knowledge Correspondence and Balance of Representation between Standards and Assessment as Rated by Four Raters
State A--Grade 3 Mathematics
(Number of Assessment Items?38 multiple choice and 12 open-response for a total of 50 items)
Range of Objectives Balance Index
(1 perfect-0 NO balance)
Standards
Level by Objective
Level 1=Recall
Level 4=Complex
Reasoning
Hits
# Objs Hit % of Total
Range of
Knowledge
Acceptable % Hits in
Std/Ttl Hits Index
Balance of
Represent.
Acceptable
Title Goals
# Objs
# Level # of
objs %/s
td Mean S.D. Mean S.D. Mean S.D. Mean S.D. Mean S.D.
1. Number and
Numeration
Systems 4 20
1
2
3
4
3
13
3
1
15
65
15
5
10.75 2.87 8.50 1.29 43 6 No 17 4 .87 .09 Yes
2. Numerical
and Algebraic
Concepts and
Operations
7 25
1
2
3
4
3
12
9
1
12
48
36
4
18.50 4.80 8.00 .82 31 3 No 29 5 .75 .11 Yes
3. Patterns,
Relationships,
and Functions 5 7 2
3
4
2
3
2
28
43
28 3.25 1.89 2.00 .82 29 12 No 5 3 .92 .10 Yes
4. Geometry
and Spatial
Sense 7 19
1
2
3
4
6
5
5
3
32
26
26
16
9.25 0.96 5.50 .58 29 3 No 15 3 .84 .06 Yes
5.
Measurement 7 17
1
2
3
4
2
11
2
2
12
64
12
12
16.00 1.15 5.75 .50 34 3 No 26 3 .76 .08 Yes
6. Probability
and Statistics 3 6 2
3
4
1
2
3
17
33
50 5.25 0.50 2.50 .58 40 8 No 8 1 .78 .08 Yes
Total 33 94
1
2
3
4
14
44
24
12
15
45
26
13
63.00 6.22 5.38 2.62 34 8 17 9 .82 .10
Table AM3-4
Summary of Attainment of Acceptable Alignment Level on Four Content Focus Criteria
State A Grade 3 Mathematics
(Number of Assessment Items?38 multiple choice and 12 open-response for a total of 50 items)
Alignment Criteria
Standards Categorical
Concurrence
Depth-of-
Knowledge
Consistency
Range of
Knowledge
Balance of
Representation
1. Number and
Numeration Systems YES YES NO YES
2. Numerical and
Algebraic Concepts
and Operations
YES YES NO YES
3. Patterns,
Relationships, and
Functions
NO WEAK NO YES
4. Geometry and
Spatial Sense YES NO NO YES
5. Measurement YES YES NO YES
6. Probability and
Statistics WEAK NO NO YES
State A
Grade 6 Mathematics Alignment Analysis Tables
Table AM6-1
Categorical Concurrence between Standards and Assessment as Rated by Four Raters
State Grade 6 Mathematics
(Number of Assessment Items?51 multiple choice, 9 open-response, and one open-
ended for a total of 61 items)
Standards Level by Objective Hits
Title Goals
# Objs
# Level # of objs
by Level % w/in std
by Level Mean S.D.
Categorical
Concurr.
Acceptable
1. Number and
Numeration Systems 5 22
1
2
3
4
3
14
4
1
14
64
18
4
11.75 3.59 Yes
2. Numerical and
Algebraic Concepts and
Operations 8 18 2
3
4
11
5
2
61
28
11 21.25 6.55 Yes
3. Patterns, Relationships,
and Functions 5 11 2
3
4
5
2
4
45
18
36 10.00 1.83 Yes
4. Geometry and Spatial
Sense 7 24
1
2
3
4
6
9
5
4
25
38
21
17
12.00 1.41 Yes
5. Measurement
6a 16
1
2
3
4
1
8
5
2
6
50
31
13
10.50 2.38 Yes
6. Probability and
Statistics 5 10 2
3
4
3
6
1
30
60
10 9.25 1.50 Yes
Total 36 101
1
2
3
4
10
50
27
14
10
49
27
14
74.75 10.21
a Goal D was not included in the analysis. (Select and use appropriate tools and units to measure. . . .)
Table AM6-2
Depth-of-Knowledge Consistency between Standards and Assessment
As Rated by Four Raters
State A--Grade 6 Mathematics
(Number of Assessment Items?51 multiple choice, 9 open-response, and one open-ended for a total of 61 items)
Level of Item w.r.t. Standard
Standards
Level by Objective Hits % Under % At % Above
Title Goals
# Objs
# Level # of
objs %/std M S.D. M S.D. M S.D. M S.D.
Depth-of-Knwldge
Consistency
Acceptable
1. Number and
Numeration Systems 5 22
1
2
3
4
3
14
4
1
14
64
18
4
11.75 3.59 30 10 50 6 20 8 Yes
2. Numerical and
Algebraic Concepts
and Operations 8 18 2
3
4
11
5
2
61
28
11 21.25 6.55 46 6 47 9 7 9 Yes
3. Patterns,
Relationships, and
Functions 5 11 2
3
4
5
2
4
45
18
36 10.00 1.83 40 13 43 20 17 16 Yes
4. Geometry and
Spatial Sense 7 24
1
2
3
4
6
9
5
4
25
38
21
17
12.00 1.41 48 15 35 14 17 4 Yes
5. Measurement
6a 16
1
2
3
4
1
8
5
2
6
50
31
13
10.50 2.38 38 28 47 23 15 14 Yes
6. Probability and
Statistics 5 10 2
3
4
3
6
1
30
60
10 9.25 1.50 41 4 48 8 11 8 Yes
Total 36 101
1
2
3
4
10
50
27
14
10
49
27
14
74.75 10.21 41 15 46 14 13 10
a Goal D was not included in the analysis. (Select and use appropriate tools and units to measure. . . .)
Table AM6-3
Range-of-Knowledge Correspondence and Balance of Representation between Standards and Assessment as Rated by Four Raters
State A--Grade 6 Mathematics (Number of Assessment Items?51 multiple choice, 9 open-response, and one open-ended for a total of 61 items)
Range of Objectives Balance Index
(1 perfect-0 NO balance)
Standards
Level by Objective
Level 1=Recall
Level 4=Complex
Reasoning
Hits # Objs Hit % of Total % Hits in
Std/Ttl Hits Index
Title Goals
# Obj
s
#
Level # of
objs %/std Mean S.D. Mean S.D. Mean S.D.
Range of
Knowledge
Acceptable Mean S.D. Mean S.D.
Balance of
Representation
Acceptable
1. Number and
Numeration
Systems 5 22
1
2
3
4
3
14
4
1
14
64
18
4
11.75 3.59 7.25 .96 33 4 No 16 5 .80 .05 Yes
2. Numerical and
Algebraic
Concepts and
Operations
8 18 2
3
4
11
5
2
61
28
11 21.25 6.55 7.75 1.89 43 11 No 28 6 .73 .02 Yes
3. Patterns,
Relationships,
and Functions 5 11 2
3
4
5
2
4
45
18
36 10.00 1.83 3.75 .50 34 5 No 13 1 .57 .03 No
4. Geometry and
Spatial Sense 7 24
1
2
3
4
6
9
5
4
25
38
21
17
12.00 1.41 6.00 2.16 26 9 No 16 1 .74 .06 Yes
5. Measurement
6a 16
1
2
3
4
1
8
5
2
6
50
31
13
10.50 2.38 5.25 .50 30 3 No 14 3 .75 .07 Yes
6. Probability and
Statistics 5 10 2
3
4
3
6
1
30
60
10 9.25 1.50 4.50 .58 43 6 No 12 2 .77 .09 Yes
Total 36 101
1
2
3
4
10
50
27
14
10
49
27
14
74.75 10.21 5.75 1.85 35 9 17 6 .73 .09
a Goal D was not included in the analysis. (Select and use appropriate tools and units to measure. . . .)
Table AM6-4
Summary of Attainment of Acceptable Alignment Level on Four Content Focus Criteria
State A Grade 6 Mathematics
(Total Number of Assessment Items50)
Alignment Criteria
Standards Categorical
Concurrence
Depth-of-
Knowledge
Consistency
Range of
Knowledge
Balance of
Representation
1. Number and
Numeration Systems YES YES NO YES
2. Numerical and
Algebraic Concepts
and Operations YES YES NO YES
3. Patterns,
Relationships, and
Functions YES YES NO NO
4. Geometry and
Spatial Sense YES YES NO YES
5. Measurement YES YES NO YES
6. Probability and
Statistics YES YES NO YES
... Bloom taxonomy defines learning objective [1] whereas theories given by Pavlov [12,20], Bandura [3][4] and Webb [5][6][7] focus on classical conditioning, social cognitivism and depth of knowledge, respectively. These theories form the basic foundation for the modern education system. ...
... Educators can alter the content complexity rigor (CCR) [5][6][7][8][9][10] of a KP to explain the KP to some learner depending upon learners cognitive level, often known as learners' cognitive level [2]. The depth of explanation, often known as depth of knowledge (DOK) [5][6][7][8][9] required by a learner to understand some KP, also depends on his/her cognitive level. ...
... Educators can alter the content complexity rigor (CCR) [5][6][7][8][9][10] of a KP to explain the KP to some learner depending upon learners cognitive level, often known as learners' cognitive level [2]. The depth of explanation, often known as depth of knowledge (DOK) [5][6][7][8][9] required by a learner to understand some KP, also depends on his/her cognitive level. ...
... An example of a high complexity model is that of La Marca et al. (2000) which used the interrelated dimensions of content match, depth match, emphasis, performance match, and accessibility. Webb (1999) described alignment of assessment to standards for four criteria within the content category -depth of knowledge consistency, categorical concurrence, range of knowledge consistency, and balance of representation. The Achieve (2001) model proposed methods for dealing with differential weighting of standards. ...
... It employs the following six criteria: accuracy of test blueprint, content centrality, performance centrality, challenge, balance, and range. Bhola et al. (2003) argued that while Webb (1999), La Marca et al. (2000), Achieve (2001), and Porter (2002) had developed promising alignment models, all of these have problems. The broad categories of challenges include problems associated with specificity of alignment criteria, with alignment and classification of students into performance categories, and with training. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
South Africa experiences crippling challenges in the recruitment and retention of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students in Higher Education, with major implications for such things as socioeconomic development. In the country’s school curriculum, it is Grade 10 which marks the beginning of a learner’s potential STEM career trajectory. A deeper understanding of South Africa’s Grade 10 curriculum literacy challenges and associated curriculum alignment in the key STEM field of chemistry is needed for enabling forms of epistemological access (such as semiotic access) that are critical for the empowerment of future scientists. Chemistry as an academic discipline, is sustained by many individuals with shared ways of knowing facilitated by a system of semiotic resources such as visuals and text, referred to as discourse. Despite chemistry playing an important role in our lives and in school curriculum, the abstract nature of chemistry discourse poses challenges to students. The visuals and text of chemistry discourse contribute to chemistry curriculum demands imposed on students. While there is clear justification for promoting literacy practices in classrooms, the reading involved in school science has received less attention, and recommendations from literature point to the need for defining discipline-specific curriculum literacies and identifying implicit literacy practices. Such recommendations are further supported by the broader call made by sociologists of education for overcoming knowledge blindness in education. This case study of South African Grade 10 Chemistry curriculum utilised document analysis for exploring the alignment of school chemistry curriculum literacy demands between the syllabus, textbook and exemplar examination in terms of abstraction. The Legitimation Code Theory conceptualisation of degree of abstraction in knowledge practices as Semantic Gravity (SG), provided a theoretical perspective for characterising visual and textual curriculum literacy demands of school chemistry curriculum documents. One translation device was developed specifically for exploring SG of visual items and a second translation device was devised specifically for exploring SG of textual items. The SG of visuals in the exemplar examination paper and textbook were tabulated and graphed in order to identify areas of stronger and weaker alignment between the visual literacy demands of these two documents of the pedagogic recontextualising field. Similarly, the SG of textual items in the syllabus, exemplar examination paper and textbook were compared to identify areas of stronger and weaker alignment between the textual literacy demands of the pedagogic and official recontextualising fields. The methodological contribution of this study lies in it demonstrating the utility of SG as a mode of analysing curriculum alignment of subjects with hierarchical knowledge structures. The empirical findings reveal an overall high level of alignment for visual chemistry curriculum literacy demands, and for textual chemistry curriculum literacy demands at the lower levels of abstraction. Visual literacy demands were found to be higher than textual literacy demands, due to emphasis on visuals at the highest level of abstraction while the curriculum documents displayed a more even distribution of focal lexical items across levels of textual abstraction. This thesis argues that while exploring the alignment of visual and textual chemistry curriculum literacy demands between different curriculum documents is useful, it is equally important to consider how evenly the visual and textual items are distributed across the SG continuum as this has cognitive and affective implications for academic achievement and life chances of chemistry learners.
... The list of emphasized and de-emphasized content by subject area can be found in the Appendix. This SEC technique has been used and shown to be valid and reliable in multiple studies (Blank, 2004;Clune, 1993;Polikoff, Porter, & Smithson, 2011;Osthoff, 2007;Webb, 2002Webb, , 2007. If teachers are teaching to their newest state standards, we would expect them to report teaching significantly more of the emphasized rather than the de-emphasized content. ...
Article
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) requires that all students with disabilities (SWD) receive a free, appropriate public education designed to meet their unique needs to prepare them for post-school education and employment (American Psychological Association, 2018). In the past two decades, momentum has grown for a supplementary idea: that schools be held accountable for SWD achieving grade-level standards. Thus standards-based reform for SWD is often caught between ideals of standardization and principles of differentiation.
... Unit developers determine the long-term essential questions and enduring understandings (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). These are extended through a fifth-grade sample unit identifying levels of Bloom's revised taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001) with Webb's (1999) Depth of Knowledge. ...
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A critical aspect of evaluator education and professional learning is to educate evaluators who know the major evaluation models and learn how to manage relationships and solve complex problems when conducting, critiquing, developing and interpreting evaluations. The American and Australian Evaluation Associations have specified desired evaluator competencies, although developing a core curriculum for evaluation still seems elusive. It is suggested that these various competencies can be considered in terms of their levels of cognitive complexity. A model of cognitive complexity is utilised to explore the tasks and thinking of evaluators, leading to an important distinction between ‘knowing that’ and ‘knowing how’ in relation to evaluation tasks. As an illustration of this posited relationship, the Australian ‘Evaluators Professional Learning Competencies’ were coded according to their cognitive complexity. Two-thirds of these competencies were classed as ‘knowing that’ or surface thinking, and one third were classified as ‘knowing how’ or deeper thinking. A taxonomy is offered as a method to understand models of learning necessary for evaluator education and training, as well as for further development of professional evaluator competencies.
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Research consistently shows that solid assessment designs lead to better student learning outcomes. The development of well-designed assessments presents a challenge to preservice teachers in their attempts to master the process and to the teacher educators who instruct them. This exploratory study examined strategies for teaching assessment design utilized by 87 teacher educators in the United States. Analysis of the results showed that expository, collaborative, and hands-on approaches were used, with assessment approaches aligning to structured or unstructured approaches. Data also revealed that the participants tended to focus more on the vocabulary related to assessments rather than the strategies for design.
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This study determined whether Seitz’s Methodological Framework could be used to evaluate the alignment between the intended and enacted school-based curricula of Araling Panlipunan 3 or Social Studies 3 in the Philippine setting. In the intended curriculum, the cognitive processes called for by the learning competencies were determined using the Delphi Method while for the enacted curriculum, data was gathered using classroom observations, teacher survey, lesson plans, and teacher interview. The results of the study showed that for the content dimension, there was 100% alignment between the intended and the enacted curricula, and for the cognitive process dimension, there was only 57.89% alignment between the intended and the enacted curricula. Through this study, the usefulness of Seitz’s Methodological Framework was examined using the following parameters: process, achievement of goal, and ease of use or practicality.
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Full-text available
This monograph discusses criteria for judging the alignment between expectations of student achievement and assessment. Alignment is central to current efforts of systemic and standards-based education reforms in mathematics and science. More than four-fifths of the states have content frameworks in place in mathematics and science, and a large number of these have some form of statewide assessment to measure student attainment of expectations given in the frameworks. Various approaches to alignment have been attempted, but they have generally lacked specific criteria for judging the alignment. Twelve criteria for judging alignment grouped into five categories are described, along with examples and levels of agreement. The five general categories are: (1) content focus; (2) articulation across grades and ages; (3) equity and fairness; (4) pedagogical implications; and (5) system applicability. These criteria were developed by an expert panel formed as a cooperative effort of the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Institute for Science Education provide guidance to educators trying to develop a coherent system of expectations and assessments. An appendix lists the task force participants. (Contains 1 figure, 12 charts, and 54 references.) (SLD)
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When critical features of instructional stimuli match those of assessment, effect sizes routinely reach 1.2 to 3 sigma. An instructional psychologist recasts this classic problem of stimulus control as instructional alignment. This paper describes results of alignment studies that have dramatic Implications for researchers and practitioners. One implication embraces the obvious validity of teaching to the test, but poses what is worth testing as instructional design’s most awesome challenge.
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This article examines how the local school district’s non-monolithic character undermines state level efforts to create more coherent guidance for instruction of teachers. Exploring two school districts’ responses to a state reading policy, the author suggests that what the school district does by way of enacting state policy is not always internally homogenous: The image of the school district that emerges is one of a non-monolithic agency of instructional guidance. Attempting to unravel and explain the internal variation in the school district’s response to state policy, the author considers the school district’s organizational arrangements as well as the professional specializations and associations of district staff.
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Common sense proposals for restructuring schools suggest promising directions, but in order for this potential to be fulfilled, two major issues must be addressed: What content is needed to give educational direction to the structures, and how can the many factors that influence this content be linked? This article proposes an agenda of content for teacher commitment and competence, and it identifies four problems of systemic linkage that restructuring "theory" has yet to address. Solutions to each of these issues will require resolution of persisting conflict over education goals.
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From the perspective of teachers and test makers at the district or state level, current methods for obtaining reliability indices for mastery tests like the agreement coefficient and kappa coefficient are quite laborious. For example, some methods require two test administrations, whereas single administration approaches involve complex statistical procedures and require access to appropriate computer software. The present paper offers practitioners tables from which agreement and kappa coefficients can be read directly. Further-more, because these indices differ from traditional reliability coefficients, the issue of what constitutes acceptable values of agreement and kappa coefficients is also addressed
State B: Alignment between standards and assessments in mathematics for grades 4, 8, and 10. Council of Chief State School Officers and National Institute for Science Education
  • N L Webb
Webb, N. L. (1999b). State B: Alignment between standards and assessments in mathematics for grades 4, 8, and 10. Council of Chief State School Officers and National Institute for Science Education. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Center for Education Research.
Improving America's Schools Act
  • U S Congress
U.S. Congress, House of Representatives. (1994). Improving America's Schools Act. Conference report to accompany H.R. 6 Report 103-761. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
The alignment of state standards and assessments in elementary reading (draft). A report commissioned by the National Research Council's Committee on Title I Testing and Assessment
  • K K Wixcon
  • M C Fisk
  • E Dutro
  • J Mcdaniel
Wixcon, K. K., Fisk, M. C., Dutro, E., & McDaniel, J. (1999). The alignment of state standards and assessments in elementary reading (draft). A report commissioned by the National Research Council's Committee on Title I Testing and Assessment.