2021 Reidy Interactive Lecture Series: Design Innovation in Educational Assessment Systems

Join us as we step back and address how states can employ lessons from design thinking as they attempt to create innovative assessment systems this year for RILS 2021 virtual conference.

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Accountability as a Roadblock to Assessment Reform

Many of us at the Center for Assessment have led assessment reform for decades, including such noteworthy programs as the Kentucky writing and math portfolios, Wyoming’s Body of Evidence System, and Rhode Island’s Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements. Most recently, we have supported several state leaders in gaining approval for the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to design assessment systems that elevate teaching and learning.

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Reflections From a Decade of Fall Testing

When spring state testing was abruptly canceled last year, one of the first options considered briefly was administering the Spring 2020 state tests in the fall – when it was expected that students and teachers would have returned to their classrooms – and life would be back to normal. One year later, we are facing the same consideration. 

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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.

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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Why Have Many (All?) Approaches to Improve K-12 Educator Assessment Literacy Failed to Produce Significant Changes in Teacher Practices at Scale?

Most of us would agree that if the problem of improving K-12 educator assessment literacy has not been solved, it is not because of a lack of trying. A quick search of books with “assessment literacy” in the title, or a more general search for books on formative assessment or classroom assessment, returns many excellent resources written by esteemed researchers, practitioners, and scholars.

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Using Assessment to Support Learning Acceleration: It Takes a System! 

The Oklahoma State Department of Education’s (OSDE) highest priority is keeping students and staff safe so that we can focus on learning acceleration for all students. We are also intensely focused on how assessment can be used to help address these instructional and learning needs.  To this end, in this post, I discuss the importance of a balanced system of assessment and of being very intentional about the specific purposes and uses of types of assessment within that system, especially those intended to be used to support student learning and improved instruction. 

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Addressing the Accountability Challenge of Missing Data With A Performance Profile

In a previous post I discussed the challenges of rebuilding accountability systems developed for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2021-2022. Prominent among these challenges is missing data due to multiple years of pandemic-related disruptions. What are the best alternatives to solve this problem? In this post I’ll suggest a tool, the performance profile, that may help address the issue of partially missing data.