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Tool Alignment protocols

Summary

These instruments provide a framework for measuring the alignment between a test and the standards it purports to assess in terms of various dimensions of performance. The good ones go deeper than the familiar check on the sampling of mathematical content to consider process aspects, such as the range of “depth of knowledge” that the test tasks demand. The better protocols have been developed by groups that are independent of particular test providers. The following are widely used:
  • Tool Wisconsin Alignment Protocol, developed by Norman Webb of the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research. http://facstaff.wcer.wisc.edu/normw/ contains the key documents (under alignment and research monographs) that explain the concepts and how the process works.
  • ACHIEVE, http://www.achieve.org - provides a comprehensive benchmarking service which includes test-standards alignment. It uses an alignment protocol that was originally developed by the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

The process for using the protocol requires people with a fairly sophisticated understanding of mathematics education – typically mathematics supervisors and people from local universities – as well as some with assessment experience.

Complementary tools

Tool Standards-based assessment points to sources of broad spectrum tests – one at least should be included in the alignment comparison that should inform test selection.

Strategic applications