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Achieving Next-Generation Learning Standards with Adaptive Assessments

  • 21 September, 2023
  • Reading Time: 5 mins

Traditional teaching methods and assessment practices are gradually making way for a more flexible and personalized approach to education. One way to ensure education remains relevant and impactful is by aligning assessments with Next-Generation Learning Standards (NGLS). The Next Generation Learning Standards (NGLS) is a transformative framework that aims to reshape education for the better.

A teacher talking with a student working on a laptop in a classroom.

NGLS represents a forward-looking approach to education. These standards encompass three key dimensions and offer features designed to empower educators and benefit learners. The three dimensions of NGLS include:

Content Mastery

NGLS emphasizes the importance of learners mastering the core content of their subjects. This dimension focuses on ensuring students deeply understand key concepts and principles to develop new student learning standards.

21st-Century Skills

Education isn’t just about content knowledge; it’s also about equipping students with essential skills for the future. NGLS strongly emphasizes developing critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills.

Real-World Application

NGLS recognizes that learning shouldn’t be confined to the classroom. They encourage educators to create opportunities for students to apply what they’ve learned in real-world contexts, preparing them for success beyond academia.

The 6 Benefits of Aligning Assessment Strategies

Aligning assessments, learning objectives, and instructional strategies is crucial in education as  it helps educators and learners achieve their common goals. Let’s explore the six key benefits of this alignment:

  • Clarity and Focus: Alignment ensures that everyone involved—students, instructors, and curriculum designers—understands the course’s goals and expectations. It eliminates confusion and keeps the focus on what needs to be achieved.
  • Effective Learning: When assessments align with learning objectives, they become a natural extension of the learning process. Students are more likely to engage deeply with the material as they understand how it relates to their learning goals.
  • Efficiency: Alignment ensures that instructional strategies are chosen deliberately to support the achievement of learning objectives. This prevents wasted time on activities that don’t contribute to the desired learning outcomes.
  • Assessment Accuracy: Proper alignment ensures that assessments accurately measure what students are expected to know and do. It prevents students from being evaluated on skills or knowledge that must be adequately taught.
  • Feedback Loop: Alignment also enhances the feedback loop. When assessments are closely tied to learning objectives, the results provide valuable feedback to students and instructors. Students can see where to improve, and instructors can adjust their teaching strategies accordingly.
  • Skill Development: NGLS emphasizes 21st-century skills, and adaptive assessments can incorporate skill-based questions and scenarios to evaluate students’ critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication abilities.

Why Should You Align Assessments with NGLS

To utilize NGLS properly, aligning assessments with these standards is crucial. Assessment is a critical component of the educational process, serving as a compass to gauge students’ progress and understanding. Aligning assessments with NGLS ensures that everyone involved—students, instructors, and curriculum designers—understands the course’s goals and expectations. It eliminates confusion and keeps the focus on what needs to be achieved.

Here’s why aligning assessments with Next Generation Learning Standards makes sense:

Accurate Measurement

Aligned assessments accurately measure students’ mastery of content, 21st-century skills, and ability to apply knowledge in real-world scenarios.


Next Generation Learning Standards promotes personalized learning experiences. Aligned assessments help tailor instruction to individual students’ needs, ensuring they receive the required support and challenges.

Continuous Improvement

Assessment data aligned with Next Generation Learning Standards helps educators identify areas where students excel and where they need additional support. This information guides instructional improvements.

What Are Adaptive Categorical Frameworks?

Adaptive learning is a way to help students get better at understanding what they know and what they need to learn. It’s like a tool that can make students better at determining their strengths and weaknesses in their studies.

The concept of an adaptable learning ecosystem involves using technology and data to create a flexible system that combines teaching resources, learning goals, and assessment tasks into individual learning modules.

These modules can be adjusted to fit each student’s needs, reorganized as necessary, or shared across different learning systems. However, the field of adaptive learning is relatively new, leading to confusion about what it means, what various vendors are developing, and why educators should take them on board.

A classroom filled with students studying from desktop computers.

This uncertainty can make early adopters of adaptive learning hesitant, hindering its widespread adoption in higher education. To help clarify the landscape, four general adaptive adaptive assessment solutions or categorical frameworks have been identified. These include:

Decision Tree Adaptive Systems

These are the simplest forms of “adaptive” systems. They are based on a predefined tree structure of content modules and assessments. There’s no consideration of individual learner profiles. Instead, students move through a sequence of content modules and tests.

The system uses intervals of data and feedback to create personalized workflows and assigns work based on a set pace.

Rules-Based Adaptive Systems

In these systems, learning paths are determined by pre-established rules but can change for individual learners. Students can follow different ways based on prior knowledge and have more control over their pace.

These systems do not use detailed learner profiles or complex algorithms; feedback is provided at the end of a learning unit.

Machine Learning-Based Adaptive Systems

This more advanced method employs machine learning techniques like pattern recognition and predictive analytics. Machine learning algorithms continuously collect real-time data to assess students’ mastery of specific learning objectives.

They analyze this data to adjust the sequence of skills or content a student encounters in real time. This approach is more personalized and dynamic.

Advanced Algorithm Adaptive Systems

These systems offer a high degree of personalization, typically for mathematics and sciences. Content modules are prescribed to students based on their demonstrated mastery and activities. Advanced Algorithm systems continuously analyze real-time data from individual students, comparing it to others’ data.

They maintain detailed records tied to each learner’s profile, including clickstreams, time intervals, assessment attempts, and other behavioral data.

More advanced systems, like Machine Learning-Based and Advanced Algorithm Adaptive Systems, offer more personalization and real-time adjustments based on a student’s performance and characteristics. These systems aim to create a more effective and tailored learning experience for each student by incorporating adaptive testing in education.

Partnering with adaptive testing experts can be a game-changer if you consider adopting adaptive assessments aligned with Next Generation Learning Standards. Their expertise in developing, implementing, and fine-tuning adaptive assessment systems can streamline the process and ensure its success.

At Magic EdTech, we are committed to advancing education through our solutions that can incorporate adaptive assessments in sync with Next Generation Learning Standards. Our solutions empower educators to provide personalized learning experiences while maintaining the highest ethical and privacy standards.

Contact our experts today, and we will help you leverage adaptive assessments in your EdTech platforms. Schedule a call here or learn more about what we do in our blog section.

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