The Right Trajectory: State Teachers of the Year Compare Former and New State Assessments

From the publisher: "Utilizing research-based methodologies and practices including Evidence Centered Design, Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, and survey instruments designed for this study, we convened two panels to examine six assessment instruments. Each study panel was composed of State and National Teachers of the Year and Finalists for State Teacher of the Year. Each panel examined three assessments: two assessments given by states before switching to new state assessments developed by the PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessment consortia and one consortia assessment. In short, participating teachers viewed state movement to the new consortia assessments as a positive step forward, specifically:

  • The new consortia assessments better reflect the range of reading and math knowledge and skills that all students should master.
  • The new consortia assessments include items that better reflect the full range of cognitive complexity in a balanced way.
  • The new consortia assessments better align with the kinds of strong instructional practices these expert teachers believe should be used in the classroom, and thereby better support great teaching and learning throughout the school year.
  • The new consortia assessments provide information relevant to a wide range of performers, particularly moderate and high-performers.
  • While the new consortia assessments are more rigorous and demanding, they are grade-level appropriate, and even more so than prior state tests."
Content Comments 

The authors of this publication clearly state their research questions, apply high quality methodology to investigate their hypotheses, and produce an exceptional product. The following finding exemplifies the high utility of this study and report: "There was consensus across participating teachers that the new consortia assessments – both PARCC and Smarter Balanced – represent an improvement and the right trajectory. They illustrate where we should be headed in summative assessment over the prior state assessments that were examined." This study provides strong evidence that the new consortia assessments are a major step in improving assessment and instruction. Communications quality is excellent, combining effective design with superior writing. While evidence of effectiveness is not addressed, a substantial, positive impact on learning is possible from the findings of this report.