2021 Convening on Through Year Assessments

Claims & Evidence for Through Year Assessments: A Convening

Join us for a virtual convening, hosted by the Center for Assessment, on November 15 and 16. Over 4 sessions, we’ll be discussing the challenges, risks, and opportunities associated with through year assessment systems. Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required.

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Analysis – Does This Word Matter in Defining Expectations for Student Performance?

Can we call “analysis” by another name and expect educators to teach students to analyze, and expect students to demonstrate analysis in a text-dependent analysis response? Is the word “analysis” interchangeable with other words, or does its meaning matter in defining expectations for student performance? 

In the famous line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says  “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  

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Understanding and Mitigating Rater Inaccuracies in Educational Assessment Scoring

Testing experts know a lot about how to conduct scoring of students’ written responses to assessment items. Raters are trained under strict protocols to follow scoring rules accurately and consistently. To verify that raters did their job well, we use a few basic score quality measures that center on how well two or more raters agree. These measures of agreement are called inter-rater reliability (IRR) statistics, and they are widely used, perhaps in part because they are easy to understand and apply. 

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Is Our Work in Educational Assessment and Accountability Helping to Improve Student Learning and the Student Experience?

As 2019 drew to a close I had the chance to reflect on the conversations I've had with many of my colleagues throughout the year, and one topic of conversation that sticks out to me is frustration about the minimal value-add of work focused on large scale assessment and state-level accountability systems to the student experience. 

Developing a Better Understanding the Role of Assessment and Accountability in Improving Student Outcomes

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Teaching to the Test

In his CenterLine post, Can Educational Assessment Improve Teaching?, Executive Director Scott Marion invited readers to share their thoughts on the complex, but critical issue of identifying ways that assessments can be used to improve teaching quality. In this guest post, we share Kadie Wilson’s response to Scott’s invitation. Kadie Wilson is Assistant Superintendent in New Hampshire School Administrative Unit #9.

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Travels with Charlie: A Reflection on the Timeless, Valued Work of a Longtime Center for Assessment Colleague

The end of the decade signified the end of an era here at the Center for Assessment; Charlie DePascale officially retired on December 31, 2019, after more than 17 years as a Senior Associate. 

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Reflections on Large-Scale State Assessment in the Twenty-Tens: What Have We Learned and What’s Ahead?

In considering a decade of large-scale state assessment, I’m reminded of a moment in June 2010. while attending the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) National Conference on Student Assessment (NCSA) in Detroit, Michigan, I was part of a crowd gathered in the hotel lounge watching the U.S. Men’s National  Team (USMNT) play a World Cup soccer match against Algeria.  

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The Best Things Come in Threes: Evaluating the Utility of Educational Accountability Systems

Depending on your slant, you probably have a favorite among the many sayings around the kinds of things that come in threes. Some people focus on the belief that tragedies occur in threes. I prefer to focus on how some of the best things come in threes:

  1. Freud’s id, ego, and superego
  2. The three books in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series
  3. The 90s hit teen pop sensation Hanson 

Okay, some might argue with the three Hanson brothers – how about The Jimi Hendrix Experience instead? 

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Can Educational Assessment Improve Teaching?

How would I design an assessment or assessment system if my goal was to improve teaching? My colleagues, Chris Domaleski and Leslie Keng, and I met recently with state assessment leaders who are thinking about reforming their assessment system. 

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Are Test-Takers Getting the Most from Technology-Enhanced Items?

Technology-Enhanced Items (TEIs) are a kind of test question or task. A characteristic feature of TEIs is that, in contrast to traditional multiple-choice (MC) items, which require the selection or “bubbling” of a single option, TEIs generally require test-takers to make more than one interaction with the item.

The most interesting TEIs are simulations with game-like contexts. Picture a virtual laboratory where the goal is to isolate a specific compound, or a simulated garden where the test-taker can conduct an experiment to learn about (or be tested on) a concept in genetics. 

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Theories of Action Aren’t Enough: An Argument for Logic Models

If you've ever worked with someone from the Center, been in a Center staff meeting, or even had dinner with someone from the Center, you know that we refer to Theories of Action incessantly. It may sound wonky and weedy (and it is), but there's a reason why we value it so much. That's because a theory of action (TOA) can help us clarify what we truly believe should happen if a program or system is implemented. 

Defining a Theory of Action to Help Guide Longer-Term Goals

New & Noteworthy

Henry Braun
Incoming Chair of the Center’s Board of Trustees, Dr. Henry Braun, just received the prestigious E.F. Lindquist Award from the American Educational…

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Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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Supporting the Improvement of Educators’ Assessment Literacy

This post is a summary of the main ideas from a symposium focused on educators’ assessment literacy presented at the 2021 NCME Classroom Assessment Conference. Slides from the session are available here

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Break the Glass and Pull the Alarm! The Signal From Spring 2021 State Testing Is Clear

I and many others were concerned that the uncertainty with interpreting Spring 2021 state summative test scores because of all the “noise” associated with the pandemic would blur any signal we were trying to hear from the data. Unfortunately, that signal is so loud that we can’t miss it. In spite of any uncertainty, we have more than enough information to pull the policy alarm!

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Culturally Sensitive, Relevant, Responsive, and Sustaining Assessment

“Assessment practices do far more than provide information; they shape people’s understanding about what is important to learn, what learning is, and who learners are” (Moss, 2008, p. 254).