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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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Baby Steps: Moving Forward on Teacher Evaluation

I was recently invited by Future Focused Education to share my thoughts on teacher evaluation for their blog. I contributed two posts about the insurmountable challenges of state-mandated teacher evaluation and the promise of coherent locally-based support and evaluation systems.

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Alignment Turns 25 This Year–So Now We Ask, What Are its Prospects?

Alignment turns 25 this year. Happy Birthday, Alignment! Alignment burst onto the K-12 assessment landscape with the Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA) – the 1994 reauthorization of ESEA. Among other Title 1 requirements, IASA required states to develop “assessments aligned to challenging content and performance standards.”  

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What’s Next in State Accountability?

States will soon publish (or have already published) the first results of their federally-mandated accountability systems. 

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How to Plan for a Balanced Assessment System While Keeping Curriculum in Mind

State and district leaders are increasingly interested in implementing balanced systems of assessment, in large part to improve the instructional utility of assessment scores. 

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How Did “On Track” Get So “Off Track”?

With the proliferation of large-scale state summative assessments and published results, one could say that testing has gone mainstream. 

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Rethinking Accountability for Alternative High Schools 

Alternative high schools serve a vital role in improving outcomes for students, particularly for those students who are most at risk. 

While there isn’t a uniform definition for “alternative,” the term typically describes a school that primarily serves students who have not been successful in a traditional environment. Alternative high schools often receive students with cumulative academic deficits and take on the vital work of helping students prepare for opportunities after high school. 

 

How Effective are Alternative High Schools?

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The Center for Assessment - 20 Years and Going Strong

The Center for Assessment celebrated its 20th anniversary in September with many long-time friends, and the celebration was highlighted by our 20th Reidy Interactive Lecture Series (RILS) where Center professionals reflected on the past and offered a vision for the future. 

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A Post-Mortem on Maine’s Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirement

The Maine legislature passed a proficiency-based (also known elsewhere as competency-based or mastery-based) graduation requirement in 2012, which was recently repealed before it was implemented. 

The repeal prompts us to ask several questions: What went wrong with Maine’s proficiency-based diploma initiative that prompted its repeal? What lessons can be learned to help other states implementing similar policies or pursuing similar initiatives? What can help mitigate some of the concerns that led to the repeal?

 

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Federal, State, and Local School Accountability

Over the last two decades, the focus of school accountability has shifted from schools and districts to state accountability systems developed to meet federal requirements.  

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The Need for Program Evaluation to Support Accountability Implementation

When I last discussed the need for program evaluation to support accountability implementation, I used the unwelcome issue of car trouble to frame the need for evaluation when designing, developing, and implementing accountability systems. Now, with temperatures dropping as we move through fall, I want to reference a pleasing summer activity–outdoor grilling–to differentiate between formative and summative evaluation. 

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.