Estimating the Percentage of Students Who Were Tested on Cognitively Demanding Items Through the State Achievement Tests

by Kun Yuan, Vi-Nhuan Le

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The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's Education Program initiated a new strategic initiative in 2010 that focuses on students' mastery of core academic content and their development of deeper learning skills (i.e., critical-thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and learn-how-to-learn skills). The Foundation would like to track the extent to which U.S. students are assessed in a way that emphasizes deeper learning skills during its 2010–2017 Deeper Learning Initiative. This report presents the results of a project to estimate the percentage of U.S. elementary and secondary students being assessed on deeper learning skills through statewide mathematics and English language arts achievement tests at the beginning of the Deeper Learning Initiative.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Identifying Tests for Analysis

  • Chapter Three

    Choosing a Framework to Analyze the Cognitive Rigor of State Tests

  • Chapter Four

    Examining the Rigor of State Achievement Tests in Targeted States

  • Chapter Five

    Estimating the Percentage of U.S. Elementary and Secondary Students Assessed on Deeper Learning Through State Achievement Tests

  • Appendix A

    Exemplary Test Items at Each DOK Level

  • Appendix B

    Percentage of Released State Test Items Rated at Each DOK Level, by Subject, State, and Grade Level

The research described in this report was prepared for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and was conducted by RAND Education, a unit of the RAND Corporation.

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