2021 Convening on Through Year Assessments

Claims & Evidence for Through Year Assessments: A Convening

Join us for a virtual convening, hosted by the Center for Assessment, on November 15 and 16. Over 4 sessions, we’ll be discussing the challenges, risks, and opportunities associated with through year assessment systems. Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required.

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Practical Advice for Adapting Formative Assessment Practices to Remote Learning Contexts

In a previous post, we discussed what is the same and what is different about the formative assessment process in a remote or hybrid learning environment in comparison to in-person learning. We concluded that conceptually formative assessment remains the same. Yet, practically there are key differences in how formative assessment is applied in remote contexts because of differences in instructional, student, and environmental characteristics.

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Understanding Pandemic Learning Loss and Learning Recovery 

As of January 2021, the United States is almost completely in the dark as to the pandemic’s impact on student learning. In our recent publication, Understanding Pandemic Learning Loss and Learning Recovery: The Role of Student Growth & Statewide Testing we show how spring 2021 assessment data and student growth results derived from it put states in a position to address critical questions regarding academic learning loss.

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Accountability as a Roadblock to Assessment Reform

Many of us at the Center for Assessment have led assessment reform for decades, including such noteworthy programs as the Kentucky writing and math portfolios, Wyoming’s Body of Evidence System, and Rhode Island’s Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements. Most recently, we have supported several state leaders in gaining approval for the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to design assessment systems that elevate teaching and learning.

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Reflections From a Decade of Fall Testing

When spring state testing was abruptly canceled last year, one of the first options considered briefly was administering the Spring 2020 state tests in the fall – when it was expected that students and teachers would have returned to their classrooms – and life would be back to normal. One year later, we are facing the same consideration. 

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State Testing in 2021: Messaging Matters More than Ever 

Even as discussions continue about the merits of state testing in 2021, the reality is that many states will soon begin spring administration. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has not waived or relaxed the assessment requirements specified in the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA). While some states have applied for testing waivers in 2021, at the time of writing, no waivers have been granted. Questions about whether or how to test must soon be overshadowed by questions like “How should we communicate the results?”

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What’s Wrong with Grading this Year? The Same Things That are Wrong Every Year.

EducationWeek recently printed a terrific summary by Stephen Sawchuk about the number of students receiving failing grades this year. He asks, “Should schools be giving so many failing grades this year?” The answer is most likely no. The article reveals many current issues with grading but also exposes several of the long-standing problems with grades and grading practices.

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One-Sided “Advice” on Remote Test Administration Isn’t Fair to States

A recent article in Forbes Magazine by Jim Cowen painted an irresponsibly rosy picture of remote test administration. The two organizations that coordinated the interviews on which the article was based, The Collaborative for Student Success and EducationCounsel, have been unabashed in their advocacy for returning to state summative testing in spring 2021.

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Oh, What a Year!

Most people want to close the door on 2020 as quickly as possible. This year was hard and sad for so many people. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones and/or were victims of a collapsing economy. I also recognize just how hard everyone in education from the classroom to the statehouse—including and especially parents—had to work this year, something I witnessed up close as a school board member. It was like a game of three-dimensional chess being played on ball bearings.

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The Center is Getting Emotional about Assessment

This is the final post in a four-part series on social and emotional learning (SEL) assessment by Center associate Chris Brandt and guest author Katie Buckley, Managing Director of Research & Learning at Transforming Education. Across four posts, they make the argument that balanced systems of assessment must effectively support SEL and offer recommendations for how states, districts, and schools can and should support social and emotional learning in responsible and useful ways through assessment.

New & Noteworthy

Henry Braun
Incoming Chair of the Center’s Board of Trustees, Dr. Henry Braun, just received the prestigious E.F. Lindquist Award from the American Educational…

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Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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Supporting the Improvement of Educators’ Assessment Literacy

This post is a summary of the main ideas from a symposium focused on educators’ assessment literacy presented at the 2021 NCME Classroom Assessment Conference. Slides from the session are available here

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Break the Glass and Pull the Alarm! The Signal From Spring 2021 State Testing Is Clear

I and many others were concerned that the uncertainty with interpreting Spring 2021 state summative test scores because of all the “noise” associated with the pandemic would blur any signal we were trying to hear from the data. Unfortunately, that signal is so loud that we can’t miss it. In spite of any uncertainty, we have more than enough information to pull the policy alarm!

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Culturally Sensitive, Relevant, Responsive, and Sustaining Assessment

“Assessment practices do far more than provide information; they shape people’s understanding about what is important to learn, what learning is, and who learners are” (Moss, 2008, p. 254).