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. The 2019 conference focused on Improving the Selection, Use, and Evaluation of Interim Assessments. Hear how some of our invited speakers and Center team addressed overcoming interim assessment challenges within school districts to improve local assessment systems.

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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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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.