A key policy question regarding state math assessments included in the NORC reporting system is the role of state assessment consortia in state policies and assessments being administered. The measures identify whether math assessments were developed with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium and which assessment instruments are being used. The linked table lists by state the name of the assessment, the intended uses, and the most recent study of alignment of the assessment to state standards. Definitions and further information is provided in the Appendix webpage.

State-Administered Mathematics Assessments, Grades 3–8, Intended Uses, 2017-18 

Information is reported on all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For grades 3-8 mathematics in 2017-18, 12 states used the Smarter Balanced assessments (SBAC) for grades 3-8, and four states plus D.C. used the math assessments developed with the PARCC Consortium. For comparison over time, in 2010 the SBAC proposal to the US ED included 30 member states, and the PARCC proposal included 24 states.

Intended uses of grade 3-8 math assessments are reported in the same table.

  • School accountability. The District of Columbia plus 48 states reported using grade 3-8 math assessments for school accountability, as reported by state contacts in the online survey or from review of SEA websites. 1
  • Teacher accountability. A total of 20 states reported this intended use during 2017-18. That is, the student assessment data were applied as part of the state model for evaluating teacher performance, usually by measuring the growth of student test scores across the grades.
  • Curriculum and instruction. The intended use to improve curriculum and instruction was reported by SEA staff in 38 states regarding the grades 3–8 mathematics assessments.

Responses to the NORC survey reported by state specialists in mathematics provide examples of uses of state assessments for informing curriculum and instruction.

  • Schools look at results and modify instruction to meet the needs of students.
  • School districts use the assessment results to support decisions and policies regarding curriculum, instruction, and professional development.
  • Detailed results from these assessments help parents understand their child’s needs and strengths and can help them work with their school to identify resources to support their child’s education. Schools can use the information to better plan instruction and enrichment for students in the coming year.
  • Some states use assessments at a local level for program evaluation.
  • To inform stakeholders about student performance at the end of a school year or course.
  • Instructional reports are provided to teachers showing regional, district, school, and classroom level data.
  • Used to determine student proficiency levels in math.

Examples of Intended Uses with ​Curriculum/Instruction, Mathematics Grades 3-8


We list state policies on school accountability reporting that follow state or federal requirements. The 2017-18 policies do not cover new state plans for accountability under ESSA regulations.