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Web Alignment Tool

Description

The Web Alignment Tool (WAT) is a Web-based application that automates the process of aligning state education standards with standardized tests. This tool makes it possible to gauge the alignment between the standards and the assessment on the basis of five criteria. Information is also reported on the quality of assessment items by identifying those with sources of challenge and other issues. For each alignment criterion, an acceptable level is defined by what would be required to assure that a student meets the standard(s). The underlying assumption of this approach is that the assessment instruments and standards can be analyzed and evaluated because they are judged using the same criteria.

The primary role of each reviewer in this analysis is:

  1. To judge the depth-of-knowledge level of each objective;

  2. To judge the depth-of-knowledge level of each assessment item;

  3. To identify the primary and up to two secondary objectives to which each item corresponds; and,

  4. To judge whether there is a source-of-challenge issue with an item.

All of the information obtained during this process is to be recorded electronically. The item-by-objective codings by reviewers will then be aggregated and analyzed automatically. The analysis will produce statistics and information on each of the five criteria. To standardize terminology for the analysis, the levels will be referred to as standard (highest level), goal (next level of specificity within each standard), and objective (third or final level of specificity within each standard).

Use of the WAT requires some training, but we are very willing to work with anyone who wants to use it.

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