CRESST Report Details Smarter Balanced Progress toward Assessment of Deeper Learning

A new report from UCLA’s National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) finds that the Smarter Balanced assessments will require students to demonstrate a greater depth of knowledge in English language arts / literacy and mathematics than current state tests. The report summarizes the progress of Smarter Balanced and PARCC to date and concludes:


“CRESST analysis thus far indicates that both PARCC and Smarter Balanced summative assessments and students’ proficiency classifications based on the assessments will represent many goals for deeper learning, particularly those related to mastering and being able to apply core academic content and cognitive strategies related to complex thinking, communication, and problem solving. We find such representation in the claims that both consortia have established as the foundation for their assessments as well, as in our analyses of underlying content specifications for the tests, and of sample test and item specifications, sample items and performance tasks, and sample test blueprints.”


“Our analysis of Smarter Balanced content specifications, for example, found that as many as 49% of its mathematics assessment targets may be assessed at DOK3 and as many as 21% at DOK4; for ELA the corresponding figures are 43% at DOK3 and 25% at DOK4. These expectations reflect a dramatic increase in intellectual rigor relative to current state assessments. RAND’s recent study (Yuan & Le, 2012), for example, found no representation of higher levels of depth of knowledge in state mathematics tests.”


Download the full report on the CRESST website.

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