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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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Alignment Turns 25 This Year–So Now We Ask, What Are its Prospects?

Alignment turns 25 this year. Happy Birthday, Alignment! Alignment burst onto the K-12 assessment landscape with the Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA) – the 1994 reauthorization of ESEA. Among other Title 1 requirements, IASA required states to develop “assessments aligned to challenging content and performance standards.”  

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What’s Next in State Accountability?

States will soon publish (or have already published) the first results of their federally-mandated accountability systems. 

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How to Plan for a Balanced Assessment System While Keeping Curriculum in Mind

State and district leaders are increasingly interested in implementing balanced systems of assessment, in large part to improve the instructional utility of assessment scores. 

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How Did “On Track” Get So “Off Track”?

With the proliferation of large-scale state summative assessments and published results, one could say that testing has gone mainstream. 

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Rethinking Accountability for Alternative High Schools 

Alternative high schools serve a vital role in improving outcomes for students, particularly for those students who are most at risk. 

While there isn’t a uniform definition for “alternative,” the term typically describes a school that primarily serves students who have not been successful in a traditional environment. Alternative high schools often receive students with cumulative academic deficits and take on the vital work of helping students prepare for opportunities after high school. 

 

How Effective are Alternative High Schools?

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The Center for Assessment - 20 Years and Going Strong

The Center for Assessment celebrated its 20th anniversary in September with many long-time friends, and the celebration was highlighted by our 20th Reidy Interactive Lecture Series (RILS) where Center professionals reflected on the past and offered a vision for the future. 

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A Post-Mortem on Maine’s Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirement

The Maine legislature passed a proficiency-based (also known elsewhere as competency-based or mastery-based) graduation requirement in 2012, which was recently repealed before it was implemented. 

The repeal prompts us to ask several questions: What went wrong with Maine’s proficiency-based diploma initiative that prompted its repeal? What lessons can be learned to help other states implementing similar policies or pursuing similar initiatives? What can help mitigate some of the concerns that led to the repeal?

 

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Federal, State, and Local School Accountability

Over the last two decades, the focus of school accountability has shifted from schools and districts to state accountability systems developed to meet federal requirements.  

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The Need for Program Evaluation to Support Accountability Implementation

When I last discussed the need for program evaluation to support accountability implementation, I used the unwelcome issue of car trouble to frame the need for evaluation when designing, developing, and implementing accountability systems. Now, with temperatures dropping as we move through fall, I want to reference a pleasing summer activity–outdoor grilling–to differentiate between formative and summative evaluation. 

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Text Dependent Analysis for 21st Century Education

The world of work in the 21st Century requires that people are able to critically read and analyze a variety of texts and other literacy materials. Text dependent analysis (TDA) is a curriculum and assessment tool to help prepare students for these literacy demands. 

New & Noteworthy

Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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What Should We Do Next Year?

The Center’s Executive Director Scott Marion was asked recently to offer a short response to the question,“How can parents and policymakers know whether schools are making up for lost learning and addressing individual needs?” as part of a series on what it will take to reopen schools amid the pandemic sponsored by The Center on Reinventing Public Education, in partnership with T

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Getting Ahead of the Curve: Planning for Accurate Equating in 2021

We cannot know what classrooms and teaching will look like in the coming school year, but that doesn’t need to prevent states from planning ahead for accurately equating spring 2021 summative assessments. In making that statement we assume that those tests will happen and their blueprints and administration will be unaltered while acknowledging that the conditions of learning may be very different than in the past.

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Key Takeaways for Assessment in 2020-2021

Since mid-March, Center for Assessment associates and highly-respected guest authors have written multiple CenterLine posts and other papers addressing key aspects of assessment and accountability. We have been wrestling with this question since COVID-19 disrupted the 2019-2020 school year and forced the cancellation of spring 2020 state assessments: How can assessment best be used to support teachers and students during the 2020-2021 school year? Our ideas and advice over the past several months about assessment in 2020-2021 crystallized into the following key takeaways:

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