Alabama students and teachers deserve high-quality assessments aligned to the state’s College and Career Ready Standards. It’s important because they need honest, reliable feedback about where they stand in order to improve.
Now that the state has been asked for evidence of alignment of the ACT Aspire, the first step is for the State Department of Education to provide an independent third party review. ALSDE should also determine whether ACT is willing to release a reasonable number of test questions each year, like other testing companies do. If the review determines ACT Aspire is not aligned, or if ACT is unwilling to work to meet the state’s needs, Alabama should change course.
In that case, because of the state’s limited financial capacity and the cost of developing new tests, Alabama should consider other existing options. Over the last few years, nearly every state in the nation has adopted new, more rigorous assessments to increase reliability and often comparability across state lines. These experiences could yield insights to help Alabama avoid future pitfalls.