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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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State Testing in 2021: Messaging Matters More than Ever 

Even as discussions continue about the merits of state testing in 2021, the reality is that many states will soon begin spring administration. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has not waived or relaxed the assessment requirements specified in the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA). While some states have applied for testing waivers in 2021, at the time of writing, no waivers have been granted. Questions about whether or how to test must soon be overshadowed by questions like “How should we communicate the results?”

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What’s Wrong with Grading this Year? The Same Things That are Wrong Every Year.

EducationWeek recently printed a terrific summary by Stephen Sawchuk about the number of students receiving failing grades this year. He asks, “Should schools be giving so many failing grades this year?” The answer is most likely no. The article reveals many current issues with grading but also exposes several of the long-standing problems with grades and grading practices.

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One-Sided “Advice” on Remote Test Administration Isn’t Fair to States

A recent article in Forbes Magazine by Jim Cowen painted an irresponsibly rosy picture of remote test administration. The two organizations that coordinated the interviews on which the article was based, The Collaborative for Student Success and EducationCounsel, have been unabashed in their advocacy for returning to state summative testing in spring 2021.

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Oh, What a Year!

Most people want to close the door on 2020 as quickly as possible. This year was hard and sad for so many people. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones and/or were victims of a collapsing economy. I also recognize just how hard everyone in education from the classroom to the statehouse—including and especially parents—had to work this year, something I witnessed up close as a school board member. It was like a game of three-dimensional chess being played on ball bearings.

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The Center is Getting Emotional about Assessment

This is the final post in a four-part series on social and emotional learning (SEL) assessment by Center associate Chris Brandt and guest author Katie Buckley, Managing Director of Research & Learning at Transforming Education. Across four posts, they make the argument that balanced systems of assessment must effectively support SEL and offer recommendations for how states, districts, and schools can and should support social and emotional learning in responsible and useful ways through assessment.

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The Center is Getting Emotional about Assessment

This is the third in a four-part series on social and emotional learning (SEL) assessment by Center associate Chris Brandt and guest author Katie Buckley, Managing Director of Research & Learning at Transforming Education. Across four posts, they make the argument that balanced systems of assessment must effectively support SEL and offer recommendations for how states, districts, and schools can and should support social and emotional learning in responsible and useful ways through assessment.

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The Center is Getting Emotional about Assessment

This is the second in a four-part series on social and emotional learning (SEL) assessment by Center associate Chris Brandt and guest author Katie Buckley, Managing Director of Research & Learning at Transforming Education. Across four posts, they make the argument that balanced systems of assessment must effectively support SEL and offer recommendations for how states, districts, and schools can and should support SEL in responsible and useful ways through assessment.

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The Center is Getting Emotional about Assessment

This is the first in a four-part series on social and emotional learning (SEL) assessment by Center associate Chris Brandt and guest author Katie Buckley, Managing Director of Research & Learning at Transforming Education. Across four posts they make the argument that balanced systems of assessment must effectively support SEL and offer recommendations for how states, districts, and schools can and should support SEL in responsible and useful ways through assessment.

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Test Score Meaning Under Remote Test Administration

This is the second in a series of three posts on planning for the examination of the validity of scores collected through remote test administration. In the first post, Michelle Boyer and Leslie Keng laid out the reasons why states should be concerned about the effect of remote testing on the comparability of score meaning. In the third post in this series, we will discuss specific challenges to score interpretations for remotely-administered tests.  

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Test Score Meaning Under Remote Test Administration

This is the first in a series of three posts on planning for the examination of the validity of scores collected through remote test administration. Next up is a discussion of a framework for the types of analyses that will be useful for understanding the degree to which scores are comparable between remotely tested students and students tested in the classroom, what might be done to adjust them if they are not, and the conditions under which data can be collected to support those analyses.

New & Noteworthy

Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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What Leads to Positive Changes in Student Learning?

This is the third post by one of our 2021 summer interns based on their project and the assessment and accountability issues they are addressing this summer with their Center mentors. Sarah Wellberg, from the University of Colorado Boulder, is working with Carla Evans to investigate issues related to the relationship between the use of complex performance assessments and efforts to promote instructional practices that improve student learning.

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Considering Coherence in the Collection and Use of Opportunity-to-Learn Data

This is the second post by one of our 2021 summer interns based on their project and the assessment and accountability issues they are addressing this summer with their Center mentors. Dan Silver, from the University of Southern California, is working with Scott Marion on using opportunity-to-learn information to enhance the utility of state test scores and better understand schooling conditions during and after the pandemic.

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It’s Déjà vu All Over Again

I was asked recently if the Center was producing assessment recommendations for back-to-school this fall. My first reaction was, “wait, didn’t we already do that?” When my pandemic-induced time fog finally cleared enough, I remembered that we produced a comprehensive set of recommendations with Rebecca Kockler and our colleagues at CCSSO for assessment in fall 2020.