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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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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

Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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Educational Assessment and the Pandemic: What Have We Learned?  

A year ago the pandemic changed everything, including the way we think about educational assessment. Although COVID-19 was well on its way to becoming a global pandemic in early 2020, it wasn’t until the second week of March that I, like many Americans, realized the full scale of the impact.  Then, the pandemic suddenly became one of those rare things that I never thought about until it was the only thing I thought about.   

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Here Comes the Sun – Research and Testing Conferences are Back!

The arrival of spring brings with it the spring 2021 conference season – another sign that we may be moving out of the extended COVID-19 winter. Among the first events canceled last spring, annual educational research and testing conferences are returning this spring, albeit with virtual formats. Center professionals welcome these opportunities to share our work with the broader academic and practice communities and to learn about the latest thinking and research that will shape our future.

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Including Missing Data in the Estimate of the Impact of the Pandemic on Student Learning

It has been a year since COVID-19 made it impossible for states to administer state assessment programs last spring. Since then, multiple studies using data from commercial “interim” assessments have been put forward to help the field understand the pandemic’s impact on student learning. Through these special “learning loss” studies, assessment vendors have attempted to shed light on the effects of COVID-19 on learning nationally. In this three-part CenterLine series, we address the practical implications of these studies for learning recovery.