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High-Stakes Testing

Coping with High-Stakes Testing: Deep Curriculum Alignment

Deep alignment is adjusting what is taught to align with what is measured on the high-stakes test. It increases the fit between what children learn and how they are assessed. Achievement is assured and gains are evident almost immediately. It is a complex process involving intensive effort and skill in curriculum design, delivery, and monitoring.

The topics covered during this two-day session include:

  • Principles of alignment between the written, taught, and tested curriculum
  • Rationale for curriculum alignment
  • Foundational concepts of deep alignment
  • Specialized terminology used in the deep alignment process
  • Sociological perspective of cultural capital and how it relates to students and tests

You will also learn how to:

  • Backload publicly-released test items into the curriculum
  • Deconstruct test items
  • Determine the context, content, and cognitive level for alignment
  • Develop parallel test items
  • Check for text/test alignment
  • Design curriculum guides from state standards
  • Develop a multi-year plan for curriculum review
  • Design a curriculum guide format and its critical components
  • Produce and use a validation matrix
  • Create a curriculum plan
  • Write a curriculum policy

The ultimate goal of this training is to provide educators with the ability to create a curriculum document which will guide teaching that will promote higher student achievement, as it is measured on high-stakes tests.

The training is site-specific, and we come to you. Your staff does not need to travel out-of-state for this outstanding professional development opportunity.

Questions? E-mail pdkprofessionaldevelopment@pdkintl.org.


For me, PDK represents the intersection of camaraderie, innovation, and confrontation of real education issues. It is the only organization that provides educators of varied backgrounds with relevant insights, as well as positive energy to continue our important work today, tomorrow, and in the future.