The Center for Assessment’s Reidy Interactive Lecture Series (RILS)

RILS offers a unique, collaborative learning opportunity for educators and assessment professionals across the country. Hear from some of our multi-year attendees about what makes the conference so special and how it helps support better assessment and accountability practices nationwide. This year’s conference focused on Improving the Selection, Use, and Evaluation of Interim Assessments.

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How RILS Helps Define a Path Forward for Educational Assessment and Accountability

This post is one of several recapping the Reidy Interactive Lecture Series (RILS), which the Center for Assessment held on September 27-28, 2018. This event marked the Center’s 20th anniversary, and we took advantage of the milestone to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future. In particular, we wanted to take an honest look at what we’ve learned over the years and leverage these lessons to create a vision for more effective assessment and accountability practices in the future.

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20 Years of Problem Solving and a Positive Outlook for the Future

Note: The following remarks were delivered by Center for Assessment Executive Director Scott Marion at the Center’s 20th Anniversary Dinner on Sept. 26, 2018.

I’m thrilled to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment with so many people who have been so important to the Center and its success over the years. Isaac Newton once quipped, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Those of us working at the Center feel this way all the time.  

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It’s Been 20 Years. What Have We Learned?

Asking what we have learned is a fitting question with which to begin the twentieth convening of the Reidy Interactive Lecture Series. From its start, the philosophy of the Center for Assessment has been that we gain so much more from asking talented and committed professionals to reflect with us on that question than from simply standing in front of them and telling them what we have learned.

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Ready for RILS!

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

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? 

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?

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

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!  

 

New & Noteworthy

Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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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?”