Statewide Performance Based Assessments in Mathematics: Understanding Tennessee’s Efforts to Scale-Up Reform

This study will compare the association between particular tests and teacher instruction or student performance. Different assessments may reveal important differences in patterns of learning across classrooms and schools.

Correnti will capitalize on one state’s administration of two different math tests to students in grades three to eight. In spring 2014, Tennessee will administer new performance-based assessments (PBAs) that are designed to strongly align with the state’s recently adopted Common Core Standards. The state will also administer their existing state standardized tests. Correnti will use student performance data to compare how well the two tests discriminate between classrooms and schools across the state. Using a subset of classrooms (n=120), he will then examine relationships between specific teaching strategies and student achievement scores on the two different exams. He is particularly interested in understanding whether the newly developed PBAs are more sensitive to measures of teaching quality than the existing standardized tests, and whether teaching practices that require student reasoning are better aligned with the new PBAs. The results will have immediate implications for efforts aimed at improving student performance and strategies for teaching Common Core Standards.