Publications & Resources

On the Road to Assessing Deeper Learning: What Direction Do Test Blueprints Provide?

Sep 2015

Joan L. Herman, Deborah La Torre Matrundola, and Jia Wang

This study examines the extent to which deeper learning is expected to be present in the new college and career ready (CCR) standards. This is done by examining the distribution of items and tasks at high levels of cognitive demand (DOK3 and DOK4) in the summative test blueprints developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced). The study found that while only 10–20% of the consortia’s assessment items and tasks appear to require higher levels of cognitive demand, approximately 30–45% of the total possible raw scores are allocated to deeper learning. Furthermore, the analyses indicated that while the end-of-year (EOY) exams are focused on relatively lower level items, components of the performance tasks primarily concentrate on deeper learning and higher levels of thinking. If the consortia maintain the levels of cognitive demand specified in their blueprints, there is no doubt that this will result in an increase in intellectual demand from prior state tests.

Herman, J. L., La Torre Matrundola, D., & Wang, J. (2015). On the road to assessing deeper learning: What direction do test blueprints provide? (CRESST Report 849). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).