While federal legislation and policies ebb and flow concerning the standardization of educational assessments, what remains is an appetite of federal and state policymakers, state and district level personnel and parents for comparability of student test scores.  What types of comparisons of large-scale assessment programs (including Common Core assessment consortia, state-level large scale assessments, and other assessments such as SAT and ACT) can be made across student populations and jurisdictions? To address this, the NAEd is studying what types of flexibility in assessment content and procedures can be allowed while still maintaining comparability across jurisdictions and student populations, and what types of comparability claims can be made under what circumstances. The NAEd study will produce a collection of papers addressing comparability issues including:

  • Individual Students’ Scores (on what is, at face, the same test)
  • Aggregated Group Scores (on what is, at face, the same test)
  • Issues Within a Single Assessment System
  • Across Different Assessment Systems
  • Issues Specific to English Learners
  • Issues Specific to Students with Disabilities Requiring Accommodations
  • Comparability at a Linguistic and Cultural Level
  • Interpreting Test Score Comparisons


  • Edward Haertel (Co-chair)
    Stanford University
  • James Pellegrino (Co-chair)
    University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Louis Gomez
    University of California, Los Angeles
  • Larry Hedges
    Northwestern University
  • Joan Herman
  • Diana Pullin
    Boston College
  • Marshall S. (Mike) Smith
    Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
  • Guadalupe Valdes
    Stanford University


Amy Berman, Deputy Director

The project and research is supported by funding from Smarter Balanced/University of California Santa Cruz. The opinions expressed are those of the NAEd and authors and do not represent views of Smarter Balanced/University of California Santa Cruz.

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