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Common Core Assessments: Will They Measure “Depth of Knowledge”?


Joan Herman, EdD, Director, Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing,
University of California, Los Angeles

Chris Minnich, Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers
Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education

The Common Core State Standards are raising expectations for students in forty-six states and the District of Columbia. But will the assessments that are being developed by two consortia of states measure those higher expectations? Will they assess whether students can use their knowledge to think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively?

The Alliance for Excellent Education held a webinar to explore findings from a new study from the Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at the University of California, Los Angeles that measures the “depth of knowledge” in the design specifications for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and compares it to those in current state assessments.

Joan Herman, director of CRESST and the coauthor of the study, explained the study and its findings. Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, discussed its implications. Bob Wise, president of the Alliance and former governor of West Virginia, moderated the discussion.

Supplemental Material

This webinar is made possible with support from the
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. For more information about the Alliance, visit

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