Topic: Assessment, Standards, and Accountability
Principal Investigator: Dr. Eva Baker
Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST)
The Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) is developing and testing a model assessment system, emphasizing the intense and extended use of research-based formative assessments that are aligned to state standards and intended to improve instruction and subsequent student learning.
Focusing on middle school mathematics and building on its own prior research, CRESST is developing POWERSOURCE, a formative assessment intervention emphasizing fundamental mathematical principles essential to student success in Algebra I. The assessments are designed to help students organize their mathematical knowledge into big ideas or schema. After the development, initial testing, and refinement of POWERSOURCE are complete, CRESST will conduct randomized controlled studies in Pennsylvania and Hawaii to evaluate its effectiveness at scale.
Within each state, 40 schools will be randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions and, within schools, all 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade mathematics teachers will participate. A cohort of 6th-grade students will be followed from the beginning of 6th grade through the end of their 8th-grade year. The intervention design will result in a 3-year treatment for students. Professional development consists of instruction in POWERSOURCE mathematics principles tailored to state standards and the mathematics course topics, instruction in interpreting student performance and providing feedback, and use of POWERSOURCE Web support. After professional development, teachers in the experimental group will use and provide feedback to students on POWERSOURCE assessments. The assessments will be given 12 times each year. The effects of POWERSOURCE will be compared with typical instruction and test preparation conditions underway in host districts and schools.
Data generated from the research will include student outcomes on POWERSOURCE assessments, state mathematics assessments, and supplementary measures in mathematics; measures of teachers' knowledge, practices, and motivation; multiple measures of the alignment of standards, formative assessments, and student outcome measures; and resource and cost information. The center will apply hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to the (comparative) longitudinal data to examine research questions dealing with the differential effects of POWERSOURCE on student learning, teachers' effectiveness, moderating variables that influence success, quality of outcome assessments and, cost effectiveness.