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Measuring Deeper Learning Through Cognitively Demanding Test Items

Results from the Analysis of Six National and International Exams

Kun Yuan, Vi-Nhuan Le

In 2010, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Education Program initiated its Deeper Learning Initiative, which focuses on students’ development of deeper learning skills (the mastery of core academic content, critical-thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and “learn-how-to-learn” skills). As part of that initiative, the Foundation is interested in monitoring the extent to which deeper learning is assessed in the United States. A prior RAND study examined the extent to which selected state achievement tests measure aspects of deeper learning through cognitively demanding items. This related research assesses the cognitive demand of six nationally and internationally administered tests as a means for interpreting the results of the new generation of assessments being developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

This report should be of interest to education policymakers, researchers, and practitioners whose work addresses assessment policy, the Common Core State Standards, and deeper learning.

For more information see http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR483.html


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