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About Large-Scale Mathematics Assessments

About the Framework 
About Large-Scale
Mathematics Assessments
Continue to the Framework  
Decisions, often significant, are made daily about school districts, schools, teachers, and students based on large-scale, high-stakes assessments of mathematics. These tests, and the entire assessment system, should be high quality so that (a) inferences based on their results are valid, and (b) decisions based on the results are useful.

To improve the validity and usefulness of large-scale mathematics assessments, NCTM has characterized high-quality systems and developed a framework for judging their quality. The framework also provides guidance on improving these systems. The intent is to ensure that decisions stemming from assessments will be based on valid inferences about what students know and can do in mathematics.

Given the time and money devoted to high-stakes assessment, every large-scale mathematics test and testing system should:

  • support the teaching and learning of important mathematics;
  • validly measure the mathematics that students know and can do;
  • be systematically designed to be fair to students, teachers, and schools;
  • be purposefully aligned with content standards;
  • be used only for the purposes for which it was designed;
  • widely and effectively report results;
  • be used in conjunction with other measures to make decisions;
  • balance transparency and security.

The framework lets the user judge how well a test or testing system fulfills these goals.

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