Ziker, C., Rafanan, K. (2015). ZEAL Mathematics Alignment Study: A Review of ZEAL Items in Relation to the Common Core State Standards. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
Zeal Learning Inc. contracted with SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning to conduct an alignment study using a sample of ZEAL mathematics assessment items and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics. SRI mathematics and assessment experts reviewed over 700 multiple choice items from the ZEAL item bank for kindergarten through eighth grade, and compared them to the expectations described in the Common Core State Standards on two dimensions: process and content. For the purposes of this study, process alignment was defined as the degree to which items provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate skills through the performance of processes (drawing, writing, and explaining) specified in the Common Core State Standards. Content alignment was defined as the degree to which items address the concepts in the Common Core State Standards. Two research questions guided this study: (1) to what extent are the skills described in the Common Core State Standards for mathematics similar to the skills assessed through Zeal mathematics items? (Process Alignment); and (2) to what extent are the concepts, identified in the Common Core State Standards, represented in the Zeal items? (Content Alignment). Findings revealed that across all grades (K-8), over 95% of Zeal mathematics items were found to have a moderate, moderate to high, or high degree of content and process alignment with the Common Core State Standards. These results support the interpretation of test scores in relation to the expectations described in the Common Core State Standards, and contribute to the accumulation of content validity evidence of Zeal assessments.