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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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The Center at 20: Reliability of No Child Left Behind Accountability Designs

This is the first in a series of posts highlighting key pieces of work from the Center’s first twenty years.  Each post will feature a document, set of tools, or body of work in areas such as large-scale assessment, accountability systems, growth, educator evaluation, learning progressions, and assessment systems. In keeping with the Center’s 20th anniversary theme, Leveraging the Lessons of the Past, our goal is to apply the lessons learned from this past work to help us improve assessment and accountability practices for the future.

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When it Comes to School Ratings, Meaning Matters

Letter grades are a popular way to describe performance. I’m referring to those same letter grades you received in school - A to F.  We all know that the coveted A is “superb,” and an F warns that performance is completely deficient. What’s a C?  Perhaps it is used to communicate “good enough” (but not great), or possibly it means “average.” Should we worry that those are often two different things?  

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A Look Back and a Look Ahead After 20 Years of Assessment and Accountability Work

It’s been 20 years, and everyone at The Center for Assessment is excited to celebrate this milestone anniversary with a very special Reidy Interactive Lecture Series (RILS). 

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The Need for Program Evaluation to Support Accountability Implementation

Accountability systems are supposed to incentivize behavior that promotes equity in educational opportunity and leads to positive student outcomes. But how do we really know? Even the best designs still have a burden of proof. Applying program evaluation principles that use school identification are powerful tools to examine accountability's impact, usefulness, and relevance. Program evaluation facilitates the collection, use, and interpretation of the right information to improve or understand a system or its impact. 

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Following Their Lead: Some Thoughts About Student-Led Assessment

Student-led assessment has become the umbrella term for describing the range of approaches by which students are involved in collecting and evaluating evidence of their learning. This contrasts with more traditional approaches where the teacher or an entity outside of the classroom (e.g., district, state) dictates the assessment process. Student- or teacher-led assessment is not a simple dichotomy.

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Assessment Flexibility for States under ESSA: Highlights from New Hampshire’s Innovative Assessment Application

New Hampshire was one of three U.S. entities that submitted an application for flexibility under the Every Student Succeeds Act (Section 1204: Innovative Assessment and Accountability Demonstration Authority) in the first application window. Broadly, this authority allows states to pilot an innovative assessment system in a subset of schools for up to seven years, as states scale the assessment system statewide.

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It’s in the Details: Let’s be Specific about the Uses of Assessment Results

“We have selected Assessment XYZ to improve teaching and learning in our district.” This is a common refrain heard from many school and district leaders. However, such refrains must be translated into actionable guidance – all those involved designing, implementing and leading programs of assessment need to do a better job explaining how assessment results can and should be used. Often district assessments take the form of off-the-shelf interim or benchmark assessments, but district-developed assessments or assessment batteries are also common.

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maaps Project Update: Providing a comprehensive picture of school quality and success

Over the past year and a half I have had the pleasure of working with the Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools (maaps). The 85 maaps schools serve a highly individually diverse population of students with special needs. Students are typically placed in a maaps school by their home public school district due to the severity of their needs.

New & Noteworthy

Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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Educational Assessment and the Pandemic: What Have We Learned?  

A year ago the pandemic changed everything, including the way we think about educational assessment. Although COVID-19 was well on its way to becoming a global pandemic in early 2020, it wasn’t until the second week of March that I, like many Americans, realized the full scale of the impact.  Then, the pandemic suddenly became one of those rare things that I never thought about until it was the only thing I thought about.   

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Here Comes the Sun – Research and Testing Conferences are Back!

The arrival of spring brings with it the spring 2021 conference season – another sign that we may be moving out of the extended COVID-19 winter. Among the first events canceled last spring, annual educational research and testing conferences are returning this spring, albeit with virtual formats. Center professionals welcome these opportunities to share our work with the broader academic and practice communities and to learn about the latest thinking and research that will shape our future.

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Including Missing Data in the Estimate of the Impact of the Pandemic on Student Learning

It has been a year since COVID-19 made it impossible for states to administer state assessment programs last spring. Since then, multiple studies using data from commercial “interim” assessments have been put forward to help the field understand the pandemic’s impact on student learning. Through these special “learning loss” studies, assessment vendors have attempted to shed light on the effects of COVID-19 on learning nationally. In this three-part CenterLine series, we address the practical implications of these studies for learning recovery.