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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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Improving accountability: Where do we go from here?

By Chris Domaleski, Damian Betebenner, and Susan Lyons

In recent years, assessment and accountability have become charged terms to many. In fact, school accountability systems, influenced by results from standardized achievement tests, are among the most contentious aspects of contemporary education policy. 

But how did we get here–and where do we go? This ambitious topic is one of several we are poised to tackle at the Center’s annual Reidy Interactive Lecture Series (RILS) on September 27-28, 2018. 

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Data in Schools­–Understanding What it is, How it’s Used, and How We Can Improve

Discussions of data use in schools often lead to two commonly heard refrains:  

  1. “Educators are drowning in an ocean of data”
  2. “Schools are a data desert”

When a situation is characterized by such polar opposite viewpoints, it is a signal that there are fundamental challenges that must be understood and overcome. In this case, if there are data in schools, why aren’t those data being used effectively (or at all) by teachers to support their instructional decision-making? What are the challenges?

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A Tricky Balance: The Challenges and Opportunities of Balanced Systems of Assessment

The seminal publication, Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Educational Assessment (NRC, 2001), crystalised the call for balanced systems of assessment. Yet almost 20 years have passed and there are very few examples of well-functioning systems, particularly systems that incorporate state summative tests.  Why? In spite of recent efforts to articulate principles of assessment systems, creating balanced assessment systems is really hard!  

 

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The Center at NCSA 2018

State assessment teams, assessment industry staff, and other assessment specialists gather each June at the CCSSO National Conference on Student Assessment.  Historically, the annual conference provides an opportunity for the Center team and our partners to share innovative solutions and our latest thinking on the most pressing assessment and accountability issues of the day. This year, seven Center team members participated in eleven sessions over the three-day conference: Chris Domaleski, Carla Evans, Brian Gong, Leslie Keng, Erika Landl, Scott Marion, and Joseph Martineau

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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.

New & Noteworthy

Recent Centerline Blog Posts

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What Should We Do Next Year?

The Center’s Executive Director Scott Marion was asked recently to offer a short response to the question,“How can parents and policymakers know whether schools are making up for lost learning and addressing individual needs?” as part of a series on what it will take to reopen schools amid the pandemic sponsored by The Center on Reinventing Public Education, in partnership with T

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Getting Ahead of the Curve: Planning for Accurate Equating in 2021

We cannot know what classrooms and teaching will look like in the coming school year, but that doesn’t need to prevent states from planning ahead for accurately equating spring 2021 summative assessments. In making that statement we assume that those tests will happen and their blueprints and administration will be unaltered while acknowledging that the conditions of learning may be very different than in the past.

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Key Takeaways for Assessment in 2020-2021

Since mid-March, Center for Assessment associates and highly-respected guest authors have written multiple CenterLine posts and other papers addressing key aspects of assessment and accountability. We have been wrestling with this question since COVID-19 disrupted the 2019-2020 school year and forced the cancellation of spring 2020 state assessments: How can assessment best be used to support teachers and students during the 2020-2021 school year? Our ideas and advice over the past several months about assessment in 2020-2021 crystallized into the following key takeaways:

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