- Because it aligns testing with teaching, the Assess2Know® Benchmark Item Bank can be used to meet school and district instructional objectives and help students achieve mastery of state, national, and Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
- Students will become more comfortable with addressing state and national standards, test content, and general testing procedures. Educators will be able to monitor proficiency and manage accountability for student performance.
- Assess2Know provides rationales behind common student misconceptions so that educators can apply remediation as needed.
The Assess2Know Benchmark Item Bank offers:
- the ability for educators to create formative assessment programs that follow their district pacing guide while being able to assess student mastery of state, national, and Common Core State Standards (CCSS);
- items for grades K–12* in English Language Arts/Literacy/Reading and Mathematics and grades 2–11* in Science and Social Studies; and
- multiple-choice and constructed-response formats, as well as writing prompts.
Commissioned Test Passages
Assess2Know Benchmark passages are:
- commissioned works by professionals and well-known authors of high-quality content;
- carefully reviewed to verify sources, appropriate prior-knowledge requirements, student interest, overall appropriateness, gender and ethnic balance, healthful habits, safety practices, and to avoid stereotyping, negative or sensitive material, obsolete content, regional bias, and unfair advantage; and
- certified with a Lexile® text measure and a Flesch-Kincaid reading level to ensure that reading passages are grade- and reading-level appropriate.
For reading content, the Assess2Know Benchmark Item Bank contains an average of 10 items linked to each passage. Multiple standards are covered throughout each passage and item set. Passages within each grade level cover multiple genres, themes, interests, and cultural representations.
High-Quality Item and Test Development
HMH’s alignment process requires that items reflect the intent of the standard, sample, and released items, the cognitive expectation, and other state/national test and item specifications. To accomplish this, the HMH content development team conducts a thorough and detailed review of state and national standards, sample assessments, performance descriptors, blueprints, test and item specifications, toolkits, and instructional materials.
The Assess2Know Benchmark items have been individually hand-aligned to state and national standards to ensure item quality and alignment accuracy. HMH maintains the quality of its items and tests through a rigorous and continuous improvement process.
An item blueprint containing the number of multiple-choice and prompt-based item types existing for each standard/ indicator is available for: English Language Arts/Literacy/Reading, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. All items are assigned a Cognitive Difficulty Level and Bloom’s Taxonomy Level to provide districts with information to build assessments that incorporate a range of cognitive demand.
In addition to considerations given to test form construction, the item development process requires careful scrutiny. Items written for HMH’s item banks must possess the following characteristics:
- Clear and simple language, avoiding trick questions that require students to figure out a particular angle or hidden agenda on the part of the item writer
- Vocabulary appropriate for the grade level being tested
- Independent function—the answer to one item is not required as a condition for answering subsequent items
- Standalone answers—information may not be used to answer other items
- Positive statements whenever possible
- Accurate, high-quality maps, graphs, and pictures
- Free of bias and sensitivity issues
- Durable information that isn’t subject to change in a short period of time
- Required reading—students must read the passage in order to answer the question (for reading tests)
- Interesting and engaging
- Discrete answers, avoiding use of “all of the above” or “none of the above” as answer options
- Logical answer options—e.g., numerical, alphabetical, sequential whenever possible, with options parallel in structure and length
Assess2Know® is a registered trademark of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Lexile® is a trademark of MetaMetrics, Inc., and is registered in the United States and abroad.
Each item in the Assess2Know Benchmark Item Bank is assigned a Bloom’s Taxonomy Level and a Cognitive Difficulty Level based on the cognitive demands required to answer the item correctly. Difficulty levels are assigned based on the following classifications:
Cognitive Complexity of Items
Level 1—Essential Skills
Involves recall of information such as fact, definition, term, or simple one-step procedure.
Level 2—Conceptual Understanding
Includes the engagement of some cognitive processing beyond recalling or reproducing a response. A conceptual understanding item requires students to make some decisions as to how to approach the problem or activity and may imply more than a single step.
Level 3—Extended Reasoning
Requires problem solving, planning, and/or using evidence. Items require students to develop a strategy to connect and relate ideas in order to solve the problem while using multiple steps and drawing upon a variety of skills.
The Assess2Know Benchmark Item Bank can be used throughout the year to build high-quality benchmark assessments in Reading, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies, which provide reliable assessment results to assist in monitoring progress for accountability requirements.
* Varies by state. Please call 800.323.9540 for availability.
Assess2Know® is a registered trademark of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Edusoft® is a registered trademark of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Lexile® is a trademark of MetaMetrics, Inc., and is registered in the United States and abroad.
Creating an assessment that yields reliable data and has evidence of validity to support the intended inferences requires that developers carefully evaluate test materials. Students should find the materials relevant, interesting, and engaging, but not offensive, troubling, or distracting. In an effort to achieve this delicate balance, HMH’s Assessment team analyzes the following key elements when developing every item and passage:
- Bias and sensitivity
- Representational fairness
- Language usage
- Controversial or emotionally charged subject matter
- Historical context.
The Assess2Know® Benchmark Item Bank is available in DataDirector™ and the Edusoft™ Assessment Management System, as well as by export file for use in other assessment and data management systems. Assess2Know items also can be used in fixed forms for online or paper/pencil administration.
Assess2Know® is a registered trademark of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Edusoft™ is a registered trademark of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. DataDirector™ is a registered trademark of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Certica’s Formative Assessment Item Bank (FAIB)
HMH is also a licensed distributor of Certica’s Formative Assessment Item Bank. Certica’s Formative Assessment Item Bank is a dynamic bank of more than 72,000 items for use on custom formative assessments at the classroom and district levels. In order to refresh and maintain the Item Bank, Certica continuously adds new items, updates and refines alignments, and makes other improvements to improve its effectiveness for teachers and students. Certica makes periodic updates available to educators.
Scoring and Reporting
Items are complete with an answer key and distractor rationales and can be utilized via DataDirector Data and Assessment Management System, Edusoft™ Assessment Management System, or other assessment systems.
Edusoft™ is a registered trademark of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.