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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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The Next Generation of State Assessment and Accountability has Already Started

This is the first 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. In this post, I look at the role played by emerging operational capacities and the desire for efficiency – specifically computer-based assessment.  

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A Path Forward: Recommendations for ESEA Reauthorization to Support Improvements in Assessment and Accountability

Here at the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, we think a lot about the multiple factors involved in promoting student learning through more meaningful state assessment and accountability systems. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the current authorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), is the most significant influence on contemporary state assessment and accountability.  We believe a number of changes to ESEA could help promote innovation, restore balance, and improve outcomes.

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Analysis – Does This Word Matter in Defining Expectations for Student Performance?

Can we call “analysis” by another name and expect educators to teach students to analyze, and expect students to demonstrate analysis in a text-dependent analysis response? Is the word “analysis” interchangeable with other words, or does its meaning matter in defining expectations for student performance? 

In the famous line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says  “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  

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Understanding and Mitigating Rater Inaccuracies in Educational Assessment Scoring

Testing experts know a lot about how to conduct scoring of students’ written responses to assessment items. Raters are trained under strict protocols to follow scoring rules accurately and consistently. To verify that raters did their job well, we use a few basic score quality measures that center on how well two or more raters agree. These measures of agreement are called inter-rater reliability (IRR) statistics, and they are widely used, perhaps in part because they are easy to understand and apply. 

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Is Our Work in Educational Assessment and Accountability Helping to Improve Student Learning and the Student Experience?

As 2019 drew to a close I had the chance to reflect on the conversations I've had with many of my colleagues throughout the year, and one topic of conversation that sticks out to me is frustration about the minimal value-add of work focused on large scale assessment and state-level accountability systems to the student experience. 

Developing a Better Understanding the Role of Assessment and Accountability in Improving Student Outcomes

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Teaching to the Test

In his CenterLine post, Can Educational Assessment Improve Teaching?, Executive Director Scott Marion invited readers to share their thoughts on the complex, but critical issue of identifying ways that assessments can be used to improve teaching quality. In this guest post, we share Kadie Wilson’s response to Scott’s invitation. Kadie Wilson is Assistant Superintendent in New Hampshire School Administrative Unit #9.

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Travels with Charlie: A Reflection on the Timeless, Valued Work of a Longtime Center for Assessment Colleague

The end of the decade signified the end of an era here at the Center for Assessment; Charlie DePascale officially retired on December 31, 2019, after more than 17 years as a Senior Associate. 

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Reflections on Large-Scale State Assessment in the Twenty-Tens: What Have We Learned and What’s Ahead?

In considering a decade of large-scale state assessment, I’m reminded of a moment in June 2010. while attending the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) National Conference on Student Assessment (NCSA) in Detroit, Michigan, I was part of a crowd gathered in the hotel lounge watching the U.S. Men’s National  Team (USMNT) play a World Cup soccer match against Algeria.  

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The Best Things Come in Threes: Evaluating the Utility of Educational Accountability Systems

Depending on your slant, you probably have a favorite among the many sayings around the kinds of things that come in threes. Some people focus on the belief that tragedies occur in threes. I prefer to focus on how some of the best things come in threes:

  1. Freud’s id, ego, and superego
  2. The three books in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series
  3. The 90s hit teen pop sensation Hanson 

Okay, some might argue with the three Hanson brothers – how about The Jimi Hendrix Experience instead? 

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Can Educational Assessment Improve Teaching?

How would I design an assessment or assessment system if my goal was to improve teaching? My colleagues, Chris Domaleski and Leslie Keng, and I met recently with state assessment leaders who are thinking about reforming their assessment system. 

New & Noteworthy

Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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A Framework to  Support States in the Selection, Documentation, and Use of Test Accommodations

This is the fourth in a series of posts by our 2020 summer interns and their mentors based on their project and the assessment and accountability issues they addressed this summer. Maura O’Riordan, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, worked with Chris Domaleski to develop guidance to help states better understand the impact of assessment accommodations on the meaning and interpretation of test scores.

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Keeping up the PACE: Evaluating Grade 8 Student Achievement Outcomes for New Hampshire’s Innovative Assessment System

This is the third in a series of posts by our 2020 summer interns and their mentors based on their project and the assessment and accountability issues they addressed this summer. Alexandra Stone, from the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, worked with Carla Evans on analyses to evaluate the effects on student achievement in the NH PACE program.

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Part 2: A Deep Dive into Summative Classroom Assessment in a Remote or Hybrid Learning Environment

Those responsible for summative classroom assessment in 2020-2021 face a number of daunting challenges, not the least of which is that the definition of “classroom” is wide and varied.