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Horizontal alignment is the degree to which an assessment matches the corresponding content standards for a subject area at a particular grade level (Porter, 2002; Webb, 1997a; Webb, 1997b).
Standards and assessments represent only one part of an education system. Other parts of the education system include curricula, textbook content, the opinions of stakeholders (such as parents), classroom instruction, and student achievement outcomes (La Marca, Redfield, Winter, Bailey, and Despriet, 2000; Porter, 2002; Webb, 1997b). Vertical alignment is the alignment of different parts of an entire education system.
Vertical alignment refers to the progression of a concept/content through different grade levels. IME, teachers and curriculum planners use this word the most to describe how the content increases in complexity and to ensure that content is consistent from the lower grades to the upper grades.
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