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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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School Improvement is Hard! How Can Educational Assessment and Accountability Systems Help? 

How do schools improve? More importantly, how can school improvement be sustained over time and at scale? 

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Sizing Up the Next Generation of Large-Scale State Assessment and Accountability

This is the second in a three-part series on the future of large-scale state assessment and accountability. Of course, it is impossible to know the future, but forecasts for educational assessment can be informed by examining what has shaped state assessment and accountability in the past.

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The Next Generation of State Assessment and Accountability has Already Started

This is the first in a three-part series on the future of large-scale state assessment and accountability. Of course, it is impossible to know the future, but forecasts for educational assessment can be informed by examining what has shaped state assessment and accountability in the past. In this post, I look at the role played by emerging operational capacities and the desire for efficiency – specifically computer-based assessment.  

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A Path Forward: Recommendations for ESEA Reauthorization to Support Improvements in Assessment and Accountability

Here at the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, we think a lot about the multiple factors involved in promoting student learning through more meaningful state assessment and accountability systems. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the current authorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), is the most significant influence on contemporary state assessment and accountability.  We believe a number of changes to ESEA could help promote innovation, restore balance, and improve outcomes.

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Analysis – Does This Word Matter in Defining Expectations for Student Performance?

Can we call “analysis” by another name and expect educators to teach students to analyze, and expect students to demonstrate analysis in a text-dependent analysis response? Is the word “analysis” interchangeable with other words, or does its meaning matter in defining expectations for student performance? 

In the famous line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says  “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  

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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.

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Travels with Charlie: A Reflection on the Timeless, Valued Work of a Longtime Center for Assessment Colleague

The end of the decade signified the end of an era here at the Center for Assessment; Charlie DePascale officially retired on December 31, 2019, after more than 17 years as a Senior Associate. 

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Reflections on Large-Scale State Assessment in the Twenty-Tens: What Have We Learned and What’s Ahead?

In considering a decade of large-scale state assessment, I’m reminded of a moment in June 2010. while attending the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) National Conference on Student Assessment (NCSA) in Detroit, Michigan, I was part of a crowd gathered in the hotel lounge watching the U.S. Men’s National  Team (USMNT) play a World Cup soccer match against Algeria.  

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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