Are State Assessments Aligned to College and Career Ready Standards More Sensitive to Ambitious Instruction in Mathematics?: Evidence from Two Large Urban School Districts
Rosenquist, Brooks Alexander
The recent adoption of career and college ready standards also coincides with the adoption of new statewide accountability assessments aligned to these standards. While the development of assessments aligned to these updated and more rigorous standards represents an opportunity for states to orient their assessment and accountability systems to measuring and promoting ambitious goals for teaching and learning, it is unclear whether these tests are in fact more likely to measure or reward ambitious instruction in the classrooms. My analysis of a longitudinal data set with scores from more than 39,000 student-year observations, nested in 244 teachers in 27 schools in two districts across seven years provides evidence which suggests that in one district (District D), prior to the adoption of CCR standards and assessments, the relationship between classroom measures of ambitious math instruction and student test score gains were not statistically distinguishable from zero at conventional levels of significance. However, in the three years subsequent to the move to CCR standards and assessments, more ambitious mathematics instruction in the classroom was associated with positive and statistically significant gains in student test scores in this district. However, in the other district (District B), even after the change to an ostensibly more rigorous set of standards and state assessments, there was no statistically significant change detected in the relationship between ambitious teaching of mathematics and estimated teacher-level contributions to student test scores on these assessments. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.