2021 Convening on Through Year Assessments

Claims & Evidence for Through Year Assessments: A Convening

The Center for Assessment hosted a successful convening of state, industry leaders, and researchers to delve into the details of through-year assessment systems. You can access all of the recordings, slide decks, and other materials here.

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But Will It Work in Practice?

The interest in using through-year assessment systems in place of traditional end-of-year state summative assessments has been increasing rapidly and was the subject of a convening hosted by the Center for Assessment in November 2021.

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Supporting A Principled Approach to Restarting School Accountability in Spring 2022

Recently, my colleague Chris Domaleski reminded us of the complexity associated with restarting school accountability in Spring 2022.  It is unlikely that this problem will have a simple or straightforward solution. He presented four principles states should consider as they chart their own contextually appropriate courses moving forward: 

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Finding the Right Mix

Many local and state education agencies strive to develop assessment systems that can be considered “balanced” along a variety of design dimensions. As my colleagues at the Center have discussed, the process of producing a balanced assessment system often requires resolving competing goals such as reducing testing time while simultaneously promoting deeper learning.

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Comparisons Matter: Considering What Recovery Is

The question about the pandemic impact has largely been answered – it’s bad (e.g., Betebenner et al. 2021). In many cases, really bad. With Spring 2022 assessment – and the subsequent assessment results – on the horizon, the question looming is now “are students recovering”? Answering this question requires (1) determining what recovery is and (2) judging whether students are actually recovering. 

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A Principled Approach to Accountability in 2022 

A large part of the work my colleagues and I do at the Center is focused on helping our clients solve hard problems. This year I’ve encountered one of the thorniest problems I’ve seen in my career. Stated simply, what should states do about federally required school accountability in 2022? When deliberating about a new challenge, we sometimes quip, “if there was an easy answer, we probably wouldn’t be involved.” Although there are seldom easy or perfect solutions to hard problems, we always work to help states take a principled approach to finding the best solution for their situation. 

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Can We Reduce Testing Time?  

It’s rare to find an issue that nearly everyone agrees with, but I think that the desire to reduce testing time is one of them. If we surveyed students and teachers to ask if they want to cut back on the time spent taking standardized tests, I confidently predict this proposition would receive near-universal support. It’s not hard to understand why. Proponents of reducing testing time are quick to point out that time devoted to testing decreases the available time for instruction.  

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Technical Advisory Committees: A Counselor for Your Assessment Program 

What kind of advisor is right for you? Advisors come in all different shapes and sizes and may not even have the word advisor in their name. We likely all have some experience with an advisor of some form or fashion: a high-school counselor, legal counsel, financial counselor, or certified counselor. A well-formed Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) can serve as a combination of all of these types of counselors for your state or district assessment program. 

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Accountability Doesn’t Need to be Restarted. It Needs to be Revised!

The U.S. Department of Education followed an all too familiar pattern of publishing important guidance just before the Christmas holiday, dropping a lump of coal in the stockings of state accountability directors. The gift, or Christmas miracle, that states needed was an acknowledgment that federal school accountability requirements need to be revised, not simply restarted. Unfortunately, the draft requirements simply discuss (direct) how states must restart their accountability systems in 2021-2022 after what has essentially been a 2-year accountability hiatus. 

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Charting a Course for School Accountability in 2022

In the midst of the holiday season, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released a draft FAQ addressing the requirements for school accountability in 2022 under ESSA. We won’t call this release a gift, but it at least provides some clarity for states deep in planning for 2021–22 accountability.

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All I Wanted for Christmas Was a Through Year Assessment System that Promotes Deeper Learning

In my recent post, I promised to reveal the type of through year assessment design I’d like to see. After providing some background and context, I provide a high-level description of my design for a through year assessment system that promotes deeper learning while alleviating many of the problems caused by current assessment designs.

New & Noteworthy

Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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Selecting the Right Assessments to Monitor School Recovery from the Pandemic 

In a previous post, I (Juan) argued for the importance of a variety of tools in your assessment toolbox to help monitor recovery efforts as we come out of (or continue to wade our way through) the pandemic. In this post, we expand a bit more on assessment selection, and the types of assessments, or tools, that can be used to monitor recovery efforts and confirm evidence of progress. 

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Monitoring COVID Recovery Efforts

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail.” -Abraham Maslow (circa 1966, as adapted from an even older British saying).

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Lead with the Reports

Sadly, one of the giants in the field of educational measurement has recently passed away – Dr. Ron Hambleton. The fact that Ron was one of the most prodigious and acclaimed scholars in our field is undisputed. A list of his works is astonishing in its breadth and influence, and his accolades are unmatched. Despite this, he wasn’t a distant ‘ivory tower’ professor. Communicating in ways that reached broad audiences was one of his passions – one that came through in his works, including books that an entire generation of measurement students studied. I was one of those students.