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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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Being Innovative Under ESSA’s Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority

In my previous glass-half-empty post, I outlined my considerable reservations with the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) component of the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

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Balancing Skepticism and Utility in Machine Scoring

Without a doubt, the public is skeptical about using machine scoring for examinees’ written responses. This skepticism makes sense because we know that machines do not score all elements of writing equally well. Machines do not “understand” creativity, irony, humor, allegory, and other literary techniques, opening them to criticism for their insufficiency in evaluating some of these more subtle qualities of writing. 

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An Education Innovator’s Dilemma

I was an early supporter and promoter of the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), but I now have serious doubts about the viability of the IADA and its ability to support deep and meaningful educational reform.

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What Do I Need to Know About Competency-Based Grading?

This post is the last in my three-part series on competency-based grading. In Part 1, I describe the key similarities and differences between traditional, standards-based, and competency-based grading practices.

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What Do I Need to Know About Competency-Based Grading?

This post is Part 2 of a three-part series on competency-based grading. Part 1 described the key similarities and differences between traditional, standards-based, and competency-based grading practices. 

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What Do I Need to Know About Competency-Based Grading?

This is the first in a three-part series on competency-based grading. I was motivated to write this series because of recent conversations about competency-based grading within my children’s school district. I’ve noticed confusion about terms, misinformation, propaganda, and a general lack of high-quality resources on the subject. My goal for this series is to help guide honest and transparent conversations about key issues and best practices by: 

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Beyond Faster and Cheaper, Could Automated Scoring Produce Better Scores?

Earlier this month, the Center for Assessment held its 15th annual colloquium, the first named in honor of Center co-founder, Brian Gong. The Brian Gong Colloquium is a two-day meeting arranged by the Center for Assessment to discuss select topics of importance in testing and accountability with recognized experts. 

The 2019 meeting focused on the present and future use of learning analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in educational assessment, and highlighted topics including:

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Stuck in the Middle With Interim Assessments

How do you select an interim assessment that will meet your specific goals and needs?  

What assessment characteristics are necessary to support a particular test use, and what evidence of quality should be evaluated to determine whether that use is supported? 

How do you know if educators and schools are appropriately interpreting and using assessment results? 

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Discussing What Matters at the National Conference on Student Assessment

Each June, the Center team and our partners gather with others around the country for the Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO) National Conference on Student Assessment to share our work on K-12 assessment and accountability matters. 

CCSSO has said about this year’s upcoming event, “the goal of the 2019 conference is to give states a forum to share the best practices, strategies, research studies, resources, and innovative methods when measuring student learning and holding districts and schools accountable for educational progress.” 

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Understanding Nominal and Effective Weights in School Accountability Systems

States give a lot of weight to the weights given to the indicators in their accountability systems. Decisions such as whether Achievement and Growth should count equally, and how much impact the School Quality and School Success indicator should have on a school’s final rating, can be quite difficult to make–and even more difficult to communicate effectively to local educators and other stakeholders. All too often, however, the weights states assign to indicators don't reflect the actual influence each indicator has on a school’s composite score and accountability rating.

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.