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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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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

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How Can Every Educator Achieve Assessment Literacy?

I am encouraged that so many educational leaders are wrestling with systematically bringing educational reforms to scale. Unfortunately, as these leaders have come to realize, achieving widespread implementation of meaningful reforms is really hard – especially when pursuing a goal of increasing assessment literacy.

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Making the Most of the Summative State Assessment

This post is based on an invited presentation Charlie DePascale made at the nineteenth annual Maryland Assessment Research Center (MARC) conference at the University of Maryland on November 8, 2019.

“Our teachers are thrilled that the new summative state assessment is so much shorter. Now, what additional student scores can we report from it to help them improve instruction?”

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In Search of Simple Solutions for the NAEP Results

The 2019 NAEP results (National Assessment of Educational Progress) were released last week to much consternation, except perhaps in Mississippi and Washington, D.C., where improved results were celebrated.

Nationally, results were up slightly in fourth-grade math, flat in eighth-grade math, and down in both fourth and eighth-grade reading. These results continue a disturbing lack of progress over the last decade. 

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Do Interim Assessments Have A Role in Balanced Systems of Assessment?

Interim assessments may have a role in balanced assessment systems, but that role is not conferred by title. It is conferred by logic and evidence tied to particular purposes and uses. 

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The Reality of Innovation in Educational Assessment

This post is the follow-up to my previous post discussing the realities of innovation in large-scale educational assessment. In Part 1, I defined innovation as a change that not only improved an existing process or product, but also was found to have solved a problem or meet a need and, therefore, was adopted and used; that is, it changed the way things were done in the field.  

New & Noteworthy

Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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The Outlook for ESSA School Accountability After COVID-19

For those hoping for minimal disruption to ESSA school accountability, I have bad news and more bad news.    

The bad news is that school accountability as we know it is entirely offline for 2020. Before the calendar even flipped to April, the U.S. Department of Education granted waivers to all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Bureau of Indian Education.  

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Tongue Tied by Testing Terminology

City Year is an American education nonprofit organization founded in 1988 and dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. The organization partners with public schools in 29 high-need communities across the U.S. and through international affiliates. The Center for Assessment has been partnering with City Year for several months to help increase the assessment knowledge and skills of City Year staff. We’ve had the privilege of working with Will Scarbrough, the head of Student Analytics for City Year, on this project.

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The Next Generation of State Assessment and Accountability

This is the final installment in a three-part series on the future of large-scale state assessment and accountability. Of course, it is impossible to know the future, but forecasts for educational assessment can be informed by examining what has shaped state assessment and accountability in the past.