Mathematics Benchmarking Report TIMSS 1999–Eighth Grade
Chapter 5 Contents


What Benchmarking Juristictions Have Assessments in Mathematics?




© 2001 International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)







CHAPTER 5: The Mathematics Curriculum

What Benchmarking Jurisdictions Have Assessments in Mathematics?

Across the United States, many states are conducting assessments based on their own content standards and are assessing whether students in their schools are meeting these standards for academic achievement. Forty-three states have some type of criterion-referenced mathematics assessment aligned to state standards.(5)

All 13 Benchmarking states had developed or were developing state-level mathematics assessments aligned with their state curriculum frameworks or content standards. As summarized in Exhibits 5.10 and 5.11, most of them reported recently revising or developing their criterion-referenced assessment to align with their current eighth-grade framework/standards. Assessments in Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Texas were reported to be in revision, and those in Illinois, Michigan, and South Carolina to be in development. In addition to these criterion-referenced assessments, seven states (Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, and South Carolina) reported using norm-referenced mathematics tests to assess student mathematics achievement statewide.

All the Benchmarking states except Pennsylvania have participated in recent state mathematics assessments as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Ten of the 13 states participated in both 1996 and 2000, and Idaho and Oregon in one of the years.

As shown in Exhibit 5.12, six of the Benchmarking states use or plan to use performance on a mathematics assessment as a requirement for graduation from high school. In Indiana and Texas, the exit exam was based on the state mathematics standards. In Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina, they were basic skills competency tests not based on state standards, but these states were in the process of changing to standards-based exit exams. Massachusetts was planning to institute a standards-based exit exam beginning with the class of 2003.

Benchmarking states reported a range of other consequences of their mathematics assessments for students, apart from their use as a graduation requirement. For example, Connecticut, Oregon, and Pennsylvania reported that they affix a certificate or seal to students’ diplomas to show that they have met the performance goal on the state high school mathematics assessment; Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon, and South Carolina reported a policy of using assessment results to assist in making promotion decisions; Texas was phasing in a promotion policy; and Connecticut was encouraging its districts to reevaluate their social promotion policies. As an incentive, students meeting the standards in Michigan and Missouri could receive state funds to support their academic careers through scholarship money and funds for advanced course work, respectively. No consequences for students based on test results were reported in Idaho, Maryland, and Massachusetts, and no additional consequences beyond that of the high school exit exam for students in Indiana.

Benchmarking states also reported a range of consequences at the district or school level. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, and North Carolina reported that additional funding was made available to low-performing schools and districts to support remediation. In Indiana, Oregon, and South Carolina, districts were required to provide remediation to students with low scores on the state assessments. States had the right to take over schools or districts in Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. While consequences of assessments for schools or districts usually involved remediation activities or sanctions, Connecticut, Indiana, and Maryland provided monetary rewards to districts and/or schools that showed improvement.

As shown in Exhibit 5.13, almost all the Benchmarking districts and consortia (13 of 14) participated in the mathematics assessments administered by their state. The Fremont/Lincoln/Westside Public Schools of Nebraska was the only district or consortium that reported having no state-administered assessments. Most districts and consortia also conducted district-wide assessments at the local level. Four districts reported using local standards-based assessments: Jersey City, Miami-Dade, Montgomery County, and Naperville. The Chicago Public Schools and the First in the World Consortium reported that they are developing district-wide mathematics assessments. Some districts in the Project smart Consortium also administered district-developed assessments. Eight districts and consortia reported that norm-referenced tests were used for student assessment at the district level. Guilford County was the only district or consortium that reported having no assessments beyond those administered by the state.

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5 Orlofsky, G.F. and Olson, L. (2001), “The State of the States” in Quality Counts 2001, A Better Balance: Standards, Tests, and the Tools to Succeed, Education Week 20(17).

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