The Center for Assessment’s 2019 Reidy Interactive Lecture Series (RILS)

RILS offers a unique, collaborative learning opportunity for educators and assessment professionals across the country. Hear from some of our multi-year attendees about what makes the conference so special and how it helps support better assessment and accountability practices nationwide. This year’s conference focuses on Improving the Selection, Use, and Evaluation of Interim Assessments. Come join us in lovely Portsmouth, NH for a terrific learning experience—September 26-27, 2019.

Learn more and register

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Understanding Nominal and Effective Weights in School Accountability Systems

States give a lot of weight to the weights given to the indicators in their accountability systems. Decisions such as whether Achievement and Growth should count equally, and how much impact the School Quality and School Success indicator should have on a school’s final rating, can be quite difficult to make–and even more difficult to communicate effectively to local educators and other stakeholders. All too often, however, the weights states assign to indicators don't reflect the actual influence each indicator has on a school’s composite score and accountability rating.

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Assessment Dashboards, Reports, and Open Analytics

The results of educational assessments have never been more visible. Over the past 20 years, the reporting of state assessment results has shifted from oft-ignored printed handouts to publicly-available online dashboards and report cards. Parents, schools, and the general public have an almost unheard of level of access to data describing school performance.

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An Unfinished Track to College and Career Readiness

Between 2008 and 2010, I made regular trips to Washington, DC through Dulles Airport, working on projects related to the development of the Common Core State Standards and the creation of the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium. As I rode an airport shuttle or Metrobus to and from Dulles, I would watch the crews grading and preparing the track bed for the Silver Line Metro train that would finally connect Dulles with the rest of the DC Metro system.  

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Don’t Go Changing: The Importance of Stability in State Assessment and Accountability Systems

“We just administered our third assessment in the past five years.” 

“That’s nothing; we’re on our fifth assessment in the past four years.” 

I wish these were fictional statements, but as one of the coordinators of a working group of state assessment leaders, I regularly hear stories like these from many of our 40+ state participants. 

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A Matter of Indifference

One of the fundamental tenets of equating two tests is that it should be a matter of indifference to an examinee as to which of the two tests they take.  

When two or more students receive the same scale score on their state’s Grade 3 reading test, we want to be able to make the same inferences about their performance, even if they responded to almost entirely different sets of items.

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Preparing the Future with 2019 Summer Internships

While Center staff and 2018 summer interns share their work at the NCME conference, planning is well underway for our 2019 summer internship program.  This summer, the Center will welcome six advanced doctoral students who will work with the Center’s professionals on projects with direct implications for state and national educational policy. Each intern will work with a Center mentor on one major project throughout the summer.

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Conference Season is Upon Us

Warmer days, daffodils in bloom, and birds singing can only mean one thing besides the beginning of spring. It’s also the beginning of another busy conference season–and Center associates are hard at work fine-tuning their presentations.

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Five Essential Features of Assessment for Learning

It may sound innovative to claim that commercial interim assessments support instruction, but simply saying it doesn’t make it so. 

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes...Turn and Face the Strange World of Assessment

Heraclitus of Ephesus said that “The only thing that is constant is change.”  This observation certainly applies to K-12 assessment programs, as assessment transitions seem to be happening on a more frequent basis and at a more rapid pace in recent years. 

Consider the following information gathered from a recent informal survey of 21 states by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) about assessment transitions in the past few years:

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Considering Interim Assessments and Summative Information

Getting the most out of any investment is common sense, and a sensical goal. In terms of school districts and states, these entities often make substantial investments into interim assessments with the aim of supporting classroom instruction and district decision making.

New & Noteworthy

Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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Creating a Framework for Assessment Literacy for Policymakers

This is the first in a series of CenterLine posts by our 2019 summer interns and their Center mentors based on their project and the assessment and accountability issues they addressed this summer. Brittney Hernandez from the University of Connecticut worked with Scott Marion on assessment literacy for policymakers.

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Being Innovative Under ESSA’s Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority

In my previous glass-half-empty post, I outlined my considerable reservations with the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) component of the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

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Balancing Skepticism and Utility in Machine Scoring

Without a doubt, the public is skeptical about using machine scoring for examinees’ written responses. This skepticism makes sense because we know that machines do not score all elements of writing equally well. Machines do not “understand” creativity, irony, humor, allegory, and other literary techniques, opening them to criticism for their insufficiency in evaluating some of these more subtle qualities of writing. 

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