WestEd’s alignment studies provide state education agency personnel, administrators, and teachers with action-oriented information about the degree to which the core elements of their instruction are congruent with locally developed or vendor-developed assessments, identifying gaps or areas of overlap.
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State education agency personnel, administrators, and teachers who use students’ assessment results for any purpose must ensure that the assessments reflect the breadth and depth of standards that guide instruction. In turn, they need standards that clearly define the content and skills that students should acquire in each grade level to prepare them for college and career readiness. Similarly, teachers and district administrators who acquire curricula must be sure that the materials reflect state and district standards. When all three elements (assessments, standards, and curricula) are in sync, students learn challenging content linked to college- and career-readiness expectations and demonstrate what they know and can do through fair achievement measures.
WestEd customizes alignment studies to each client’s unique context and existing or emerging needs. These needs may be related to federal accountability requirements or introducing revised standards or assessments for English language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and career-technical education. For science, WestEd uses a unique alignment protocol to account for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and their assessments.
The studies can be conducted by WestEd’s experienced alignment team independently or in collaboration with client-identified stakeholders, such as teachers and district personnel. WestEd recognizes that alignment studies provide teachers with an excellent opportunity for professional development.
We can implement the appropriate alignment models depending on the unique context in which instruction is delivered and how the client currently uses assessment results.
Services are delivered in a timely and fiscally responsible manner.
What Makes This Service Unique
WestEd has been conducting alignment studies on behalf of states, districts, assessment vendors, and curriculum developers since 2005. Our portfolio of work has extended to all regions of the United States. These efforts have enabled informed decision-making by state education agencies, assessment vendors, higher education institutions, district administrators, and teachers across the nation. We have conducted alignment studies for state standards, curricula, and a wide range of assessments, including formative, interim, summative, and alternate assessments.
Who Facilitates This Service?
WestEd’s alignment team has years of experience conducting studies of alignment between assessments and standards, standards and standards, and curricula and standards.
WestEd’s team has experience teaching, developing assessments, and conducting alignment studies for English language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and career-technical education.
In addition, team members bring extensive state- and district-level experience to the table ― both in using a range of alignment methods and using findings to support claims of content validity.
What Research Informs the Work?
WestEd’s alignment services are grounded in research and best-practice recommendations from seminal resources such as the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, & NCME, 2014).
Our team has experience with alignment methodologies ranging from a Webb-based approach focused on areas of overlap and gaps in terms of depth and breadth of content coverage to strategies designed for finely grained analysis of the degree to which an assessment measure is instructionally sensitive.
The portfolio of options allows prospective clients to examine the following relationships:
- Among sets of standards (e.g., state content standards and the Framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress)
- Between sets of curricular tools or instructional approaches and standards
- Between an assessment and a set of standards (e.g., a customized state assessment and state content standards or a commercially available interim assessment and state content standards)
In addition to determining the alignment between assessment items and standards, and the alignment between two sets of standards, WestEd’s protocols also allow clients to examine the quality of their assessment items and their standards.
- For assessment items, WestEd tailors its studies to report on their structural quality, content quality, and fairness.
- For academic content standards, WestEd conducts studies to evaluate their career and college readiness.
Please see these pamphlets that describe our types of alignment studies:
- WestEd’s Item-to-Standards Alignment Studies
- WestEd’s Standards-to-Standards Alignment and Evaluation Studies
- WestEd’s Curriculum-to-Standards Alignment Studies
Fees are based on services needed and on the number of items, assessments, curricula, and sets of standards.
To learn more, contact Andrew Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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