Ready for RILS!

The Center at 20: Leveraging the lessons of the past to improve the impact of assessment and accountability practices

Much like the last 20 years, the 10 weeks since our first CenterLine post announcing the 2018 Reidy Interactive Lecture Series (RILS) have gone by in a blur.  In just a few days, the Center team will gather with educators, policy makers, assessment specialists, and researchers, old friends and new friends, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for the 20th annual RILS conference.

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The Burden of Proof: A Call for Validation Plans and Evidence in Educational Programs

Why Evaluation of Educational System Designs is Critical to Measuring Effectiveness and Results

Educational policy makers, program designers, and intervention developers typically identify a problem and propose a solution to that problem. Likely, they have a lot of experience and expertise that informs the design of the solution to that problem–but how do they know the assessment design achieved the intended outcomes? 

When it comes to educational assessment systems, we should be asking ourselves two key questions: 

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How Much is Enough? 

Sufficiency Considerations for Competency-Based Assessment Systems

Many schools have turned to competency-based education for meeting both equity and excellence goals. Competency-based education requires students to demonstrate mastery of key knowledge and skills rather than merely meeting some passing score “on average.” 

Local assessment data are often used to evaluate student mastery of identified competencies. There are many measurement challenges that arise when using assessments to support decisions about students’ competence. This blog focuses on one—sufficiency.

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When It Comes to Getting Summative Information from Interim Assessments, You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Nathan Dadey, Associate, Center for Assessment

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” is a well-known idiom. In the case of educational measurement, it reflects the dilemma posed by a requirement for a single, summative score, and might read something like: “you can’t get summative scores for accountability purposes without the secure administration of carefully constructed forms in a defined window.”

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Improving accountability: Where do we go from here?

How Can We Better Leverage Accountability Systems to Improve Student Outcomes?

By Chris Domaleski, Damian Betebenner, and Susan Lyons

In recent years, assessment and accountability have become charged terms to many. In fact, school accountability systems, influenced by results from standardized achievement tests, are among the most contentious aspects of contemporary education policy. 

But how did we get here–and where do we go? This ambitious topic is one of several we are poised to tackle at the Center’s annual Reidy Interactive Lecture Series (RILS) on September 27-28, 2018. 

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Data in Schools­–Understanding What it is, How it’s Used, and How We Can Improve

An Assessment of the Primary Challenges of Using Data in Educational Decision-Making

Discussions of data use in schools often lead to two commonly heard refrains:  

  1. “Educators are drowning in an ocean of data”
  2. “Schools are a data desert”

When a situation is characterized by such polar opposite viewpoints, it is a signal that there are fundamental challenges that must be understood and overcome. In this case, if there are data in schools, why aren’t those data being used effectively (or at all) by teachers to support their instructional decision-making? What are the challenges?

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A Tricky Balance: The Challenges and Opportunities of Balanced Systems of Assessment

The seminal publication, Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Educational Assessment (NRC, 2001), crystalised the call for balanced systems of assessment. Yet almost 20 years have passed and there are very few examples of well-functioning systems, particularly systems that incorporate state summative tests.  Why? In spite of recent efforts to articulate principles of assessment systems, creating balanced assessment systems is really hard!  

 

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The Center at NCSA 2018

State assessment teams, assessment industry staff, and other assessment specialists gather each June at the CCSSO National Conference on Student Assessment.  Historically, the annual conference provides an opportunity for the Center team and our partners to share innovative solutions and our latest thinking on the most pressing assessment and accountability issues of the day. This year, seven Center team members participated in eleven sessions over the three-day conference: Chris Domaleski, Carla Evans, Brian Gong, Leslie Keng, Erika Landl, Scott Marion, and Joseph Martineau

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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

What’s in a Grade, Anyway?

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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FEATURED INITIATIVES

 
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ESSA Accountability

Center associates are supporting more than a dozen states responding to the Every Student Succeeds Act with inventive and technically defensible accountability designs.

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Innovative Assessment Systems

The Center is leading the way in helping states and districts design and implement innovative assessment systems. The Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) project in New Hampshire is a notable example of the Center’s work in this area.

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Comparability

Assessment comparability continues to be a challenging topic. The Center is working with states and other partners to address comparability issues with consortium as well as with other innovative assessment systems.

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Center For Assessment
 

Are You Interested in Joining the Center Team?

The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment (Center for Assessment) is searching for up to two exceptionally-qualified professionals to join our team. The Center hires deeply knowledgeable and accomplished professionals with demonstrated expertise in the design, implementation, and evaluation of assessment and accountability systems. Read More…

CENTER NEWS

Jeri Thompson
Text dependent analysis is much more than an item type on a state test. The Center is working with states and districts to understand the…

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Charlie DePascale
Charlie DePascale and Chris Domaleski collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC) to produce a novel paper,…

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Juan D'Brot
Center staff developed a series of resources to support states as they implement their new statewide accountability systems under the Every Student…

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Carla Evans and Chris Domaleski prepared a technical brief with the National Center on Educational Outcomes to help states implement federal…

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The Center engages in deep partnerships with state and district education leaders to increase student learning through more meaningful educational assessment and accountability practices.

 

Blog Recent Posts

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

A Framework to Help State Assessment Teams Deal Effectively With Change

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

Providing Flexibility to Schools and Districts while meeting ESSA Assessment Requirements

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.

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Re-envisioning Performance Standards Validation

Taking a Principled Approach to Evaluating Reporting Scales and Performance Standards when Modifications are Made to Assessments

For a variety of reasons—political, psychometric and practical—states are often required to modify their large-scale summative assessments. These changes may be significant, such as developing new assessments after the adoption of revised academic content standards, or minor, such as adding a couple items to an existing test blueprint. 

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