Evaluating the Content and Quality of Next Generation Assessments

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In this report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, four major student assessments were analyzed for their test quality in relationship to the demands of the Common Core State Standards. Researchers examined Common Core alignment on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC), the ACT Aspire, and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS, 2014).They also explored the quality of test items, as well as their content, depth of knowledge, and rigor in both English and Math. Using a new assessment methodology developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the researchers sought to objectively score test items in both academic areas. The findings suggest that the PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessment, which were specifically designed to align with the Common Core State Standards, are measuring the essential skills and knowledge set forth by the standards. With the exception of some of the math categories for MCAS, PARCC and Smarter Balanced scored high in all areas tested, while there was more variability with the other two assessments. Read more to find out the details of this comprehensive analysis.