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The Center for Assessment’s COVID-19 Response Resources

State and district leaders are facing multiple concerns in response to widespread and potential long-term school closures due to the growing threat of COVID-19. The concerns are broad and consequential. We launched this page to help you efficiently find the resources you need during these uncertain times.

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Could Two Through Year Assessment Designs Provide Both Summative and Instructional Information?

In a past post, I showed the logical conflict that exists for an assessment to claim to provide both end-of-the-year summative evidence and instructionally-useful evidence intended to improve student learning within the year.

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Why Has it Been So Difficult to Develop a Viable Through Year Assessment?

There has been a buzz that “through year” or “through course” assessment represents a better way for states to assess than today’s pervasive end of the year summative assessment.  However, no through year assessment has yet been implemented statewide with results acknowledged as acceptable for use comparable to end of year summative assessment scores.

Why Has it Been so Difficult to Get a Viable Through Year Assessment?

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Focus, Fix, Fit: Understanding the Meaning of 2021 Test Scores

To answer the question of what 2021 test scores will mean, I start by acknowledging that the interpretation of assessment results is always a process of reasoning from evidence, with some level of uncertainty. As with all things COVID, we expect to have more uncertainty this year, but we still have the tools to examine just how uncertain we are about the meaning of test scores in 2021.

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Practical Advice for Adapting Formative Assessment Practices to Remote Learning Contexts

In a previous post, we discussed what is the same and what is different about the formative assessment process in a remote or hybrid learning environment in comparison to in-person learning. We concluded that conceptually formative assessment remains the same. Yet, practically there are key differences in how formative assessment is applied in remote contexts because of differences in instructional, student, and environmental characteristics.

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Understanding Pandemic Learning Loss and Learning Recovery 

As of January 2021, the United States is almost completely in the dark as to the pandemic’s impact on student learning. In our recent publication, Understanding Pandemic Learning Loss and Learning Recovery: The Role of Student Growth & Statewide Testing we show how spring 2021 assessment data and student growth results derived from it put states in a position to address critical questions regarding academic learning loss.

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Accountability as a Roadblock to Assessment Reform

Many of us at the Center for Assessment have led assessment reform for decades, including such noteworthy programs as the Kentucky writing and math portfolios, Wyoming’s Body of Evidence System, and Rhode Island’s Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements. Most recently, we have supported several state leaders in gaining approval for the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to design assessment systems that elevate teaching and learning.

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Reflections From a Decade of Fall Testing

When spring state testing was abruptly canceled last year, one of the first options considered briefly was administering the Spring 2020 state tests in the fall – when it was expected that students and teachers would have returned to their classrooms – and life would be back to normal. One year later, we are facing the same consideration. 

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State Testing in 2021: Messaging Matters More than Ever 

Even as discussions continue about the merits of state testing in 2021, the reality is that many states will soon begin spring administration. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has not waived or relaxed the assessment requirements specified in the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA). While some states have applied for testing waivers in 2021, at the time of writing, no waivers have been granted. Questions about whether or how to test must soon be overshadowed by questions like “How should we communicate the results?”

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What’s Wrong with Grading this Year? The Same Things That are Wrong Every Year.

EducationWeek recently printed a terrific summary by Stephen Sawchuk about the number of students receiving failing grades this year. He asks, “Should schools be giving so many failing grades this year?” The answer is most likely no. The article reveals many current issues with grading but also exposes several of the long-standing problems with grades and grading practices.

New & Noteworthy

Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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Educating Pablo: A Play About Through Course Assessment Systems

Various states have advanced through-course proposals, in which states administer tests throughout the year rather than only once at the end. Some of these proposals come through the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA). Others are externally funded initiatives or proposed as a one-time spring 2021 replacement for traditional end-of-year state tests.

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It Might Just be a Pile of Bricks! 

“…a collection of assessments does not entail a system any more than a pile of bricks entails a house.” Coladarci (2002)

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Implementing an Innovative State Assessment System While We’re Still Building It: 

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and yet expecting different results. Recently, I have been thinking about how this adage applies to innovative state assessment systems—those systems states are developing that offer new ways of measuring student proficiency for use in state accountability systems. I have concluded that one of the reasons that successful innovation in state assessment systems has been so rare is that we continue to ask states to implement innovative assessment systems before the state or the system is ready.