When standards, assessments and observations are strongly aligned they bring clarity to the education system by providing a coherent set of expectations for students and educators. To date, RTSB assessments and observations concretely represent an alignment of the standards from child care/preschool through first grade, providing a target upon which teachers can focus their instruction. Using classroom instruction that follows the standards and is informed by progress monitoring, formative assessments and observations, teachers can effectively prepare their students for the year-end evaluations.
RTSB's alignment to the standards also ensures that our assessments and observations are a trustworthy source of data. A study of an assessment's degree of alignment to the standards can serve as evidence of validity. A valid assessment produces data that can be interpreted as demonstrating a student's achievement in the skill area which the assessment covers. Alignment can also increase an assessment's reliability and the capability of producing consistent measurements of student achievement.
The RTSB alignment examines the degree to which the RTSB assessments, observations, and Common Core State Standards address the same content; at various developmental levels through our CARE continuum. For example, the developmental progression of phonological awareness begins with the broad concepts of listening in preschoolers, moves towards phonemic awareness in prekindergarten and kindergarten and, eventually, phonics and the alphabetic principle in late kindergarten and 1st grade. Sequential development, in which the standards and assessments are developed in a serial manner, is a straightforward and accountable method of alignment. The RTSB assessments and observations concretely embody the learning objectives of the standards, providing an impetus for teachers to support preschool children in developing the necessary skills and knowledge for kindergarten readiness and beyond.
As RTSB CARE supports expand into second and third grade classrooms and additional resources become available, RTSB will expand the number of classrooms and students it can support. In an optimal standards-based assessment system, every method of gathering information about students, including classroom observations, formative assessments and progress monitoring, will be aligned to the academic standards and expectations for all students.