Publications & Resources

Alignment and College Admissions: The Match of Expectations, Assessments, and Educator Perspectives

Apr 2003

Joan L. Herman, Noreen Webb, and Stephen Zuniga

This study examined the alignment between the Golden State Exam (GSE) in High School Mathematics and the University of California Statement on Competencies in math, exploring the technical quality of the alignment process. UC faculty and high school math teachers (N = 20) from Northern and Southern California rated the math items of the GSE relative to the expectations identified in the UC competency statement, identifying item features related to content and complexity. Raters assigned values for a primary topic, secondary topic, item/topic centrality, depth-of-knowledge, and source of challenge for each item. Agreement within these criteria was the basis of the assessment of alignment. Results showed that there was moderate to strong agreement between faculty and teachers in topic and category identification. Also, there was a moderate relationship between depth of knowledge ratings and item complexity and difficulty based on ratings and student performance. These results suggested that there was an overall good alignment between the GSE and its intended targets and raised methodological issues pertaining to the alignment of standards and assessments.

Herman, J. L., Webb, N., & Zuniga, S. (2003). Alignment and college admissions: The match of expectations, assessments, and educator perspectives (CSE Report 593). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).