Measuring student learning through aligned common assessments

The Challenge

Leaders of the 70 schools in the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska choose assessments and instructional resources to support teaching the Archdiocesan Curriculum Standards within each of their schools. But the centralized Catholic Schools Office (CSO) needed a more consistent way to monitor student learning and academic performance across the archdiocese. The CSO was looking for support to build a set of common math assessments that would provide adequate data to inform instruction and support student learning across all the schools.

 The Solution

The Archdiocese of Omaha contracted the Measured Progress Assessment Services Team to design three benchmark assessments customized to meet the Archdiocese’s unique requirements. The goals were to improve teacher capacity for building rigorous math assessments, and to more closely align the assessments to their specific curriculum scope and sequence. The project began with assessments for

  • Grade 5 mathematics
  • Grade 7 mathematics
  • Algebra 1 and geometry

The Results

The Omaha Archdiocese is now ready to administer a set of customized common math assessments that were built with input from teacher leaders across the Archdiocese. This test-construction project provided a professional development opportunity for teachers to gain a better understanding of best practices for curriculum alignment and evidence-centered test design. The data from the newly created assessments accurately assess student knowledge and skills in mathematics and can be used to inform data-driven discussions. Based on the success of this project, the CSO is looking to expand the project to include science teachers for the next school year.

It is really interesting for me to watch the teachers work together to select assessment items and evaluate the sequence that the Measured Progress team recommended, and then hear them discuss their choices. They feel so invested in the process when they have that responsibility. They leave with smiles on their faces and a sense of satisfaction. I like that we create that for them.

— Vickie K. Kauffold, Administrator, Curriculum Standards and Assessment at Archdiocese of Omaha

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