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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The Center at NCSA 2018

State assessment teams, assessment industry staff, and other assessment specialists gather each June at the CCSSO National Conference on Student Assessment.  Historically, the annual conference provides an opportunity for the Center team and our partners to share innovative solutions and our latest thinking on the most pressing assessment and accountability issues of the day. This year, seven Center team members participated in eleven sessions over the three-day conference: Chris Domaleski, Carla Evans, Brian Gong, Leslie Keng, Erika Landl, Scott Marion, and Joseph Martineau

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The Center at 20: Reliability of No Child Left Behind Accountability Designs

This is the first in a series of posts highlighting key pieces of work from the Center’s first twenty years.  Each post will feature a document, set of tools, or body of work in areas such as large-scale assessment, accountability systems, growth, educator evaluation, learning progressions, and assessment systems. In keeping with the Center’s 20th anniversary theme, Leveraging the Lessons of the Past, our goal is to apply the lessons learned from this past work to help us improve assessment and accountability practices for the future.

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When it Comes to School Ratings, Meaning Matters

Letter grades are a popular way to describe performance. I’m referring to those same letter grades you received in school - A to F.  We all know that the coveted A is “superb,” and an F warns that performance is completely deficient. What’s a C?  Perhaps it is used to communicate “good enough” (but not great), or possibly it means “average.” Should we worry that those are often two different things?  

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A Look Back and a Look Ahead After 20 Years of Assessment and Accountability Work

It’s been 20 years, and everyone at The Center for Assessment is excited to celebrate this milestone anniversary with a very special Reidy Interactive Lecture Series (RILS). 

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The Need for Program Evaluation to Support Accountability Implementation

Accountability systems are supposed to incentivize behavior that promotes equity in educational opportunity and leads to positive student outcomes. But how do we really know? Even the best designs still have a burden of proof. Applying program evaluation principles that use school identification are powerful tools to examine accountability's impact, usefulness, and relevance. Program evaluation facilitates the collection, use, and interpretation of the right information to improve or understand a system or its impact. 

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Following Their Lead: Some Thoughts About Student-Led Assessment

Student-led assessment has become the umbrella term for describing the range of approaches by which students are involved in collecting and evaluating evidence of their learning. This contrasts with more traditional approaches where the teacher or an entity outside of the classroom (e.g., district, state) dictates the assessment process. Student- or teacher-led assessment is not a simple dichotomy.

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Assessment Flexibility for States under ESSA: Highlights from New Hampshire’s Innovative Assessment Application

New Hampshire was one of three U.S. entities that submitted an application for flexibility under the Every Student Succeeds Act (Section 1204: Innovative Assessment and Accountability Demonstration Authority) in the first application window. Broadly, this authority allows states to pilot an innovative assessment system in a subset of schools for up to seven years, as states scale the assessment system statewide.

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It’s in the Details: Let’s be Specific about the Uses of Assessment Results

“We have selected Assessment XYZ to improve teaching and learning in our district.” This is a common refrain heard from many school and district leaders. However, such refrains must be translated into actionable guidance – all those involved designing, implementing and leading programs of assessment need to do a better job explaining how assessment results can and should be used. Often district assessments take the form of off-the-shelf interim or benchmark assessments, but district-developed assessments or assessment batteries are also common.

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maaps Project Update: Providing a comprehensive picture of school quality and success

Over the past year and a half I have had the pleasure of working with the Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools (maaps). The 85 maaps schools serve a highly individually diverse population of students with special needs. Students are typically placed in a maaps school by their home public school district due to the severity of their needs.

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?”