Study of the Alignment of the 2015 NAEP Mathematics Items at Grades 4 and 8 to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics

Phil Daro, Strategic Education Research Partnership (SERP) Institute
Gerunda B. Hughes, Howard University
Fran Stancavage, AIR

For more than four decades, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has provided the best available information about the academic achievement and educational progress of the nation’s students. NAEP frameworks are intended to broadly reflect curricula commonly taught in the United States. The current and anticipated influence of the CCSS on instruction, as well as the administration of CCSS-aligned assessments by many states, therefore suggest the need to examine the alignment between the content covered by NAEP assessments and the content covered by the CCSS and its associated assessments.

This is the second in a planned series of three NVS studies comparing the content of the NAEP mathematics assessment and the CCSS for mathematics. The first study compared the NAEP mathematics framework and the CCSS. This second study compares the items in the 2015 NAEP item pool and the CCSS. An anticipated third study would compare the NAEP items with the items in assessments built specifically to align with the CCSS.

The study is built around two complementary research questions (RQs) that allow for bidirectional comparisons between NAEP and the CCSS:

RQ 1: To what extent does the NAEP item pool include content that is targeted by the CCSS for instruction at or below the grade level tested by NAEP? What is the alignment profile of NAEP to the CCSS across NAEP content areas?

RQ 2: To what extent do the CCSS target for instruction, at or below the grade level tested by NAEP, content that is assessed by NAEP? What is the alignment profile of the CCSS to NAEP across CCSS domains?