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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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The Best Things Come in Threes: Evaluating the Utility of Educational Accountability Systems

Depending on your slant, you probably have a favorite among the many sayings around the kinds of things that come in threes. Some people focus on the belief that tragedies occur in threes. I prefer to focus on how some of the best things come in threes:

  1. Freud’s id, ego, and superego
  2. The three books in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series
  3. The 90s hit teen pop sensation Hanson 

Okay, some might argue with the three Hanson brothers – how about The Jimi Hendrix Experience instead? 

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Can Educational Assessment Improve Teaching?

How would I design an assessment or assessment system if my goal was to improve teaching? My colleagues, Chris Domaleski and Leslie Keng, and I met recently with state assessment leaders who are thinking about reforming their assessment system. 

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Are Test-Takers Getting the Most from Technology-Enhanced Items?

Technology-Enhanced Items (TEIs) are a kind of test question or task. A characteristic feature of TEIs is that, in contrast to traditional multiple-choice (MC) items, which require the selection or “bubbling” of a single option, TEIs generally require test-takers to make more than one interaction with the item.

The most interesting TEIs are simulations with game-like contexts. Picture a virtual laboratory where the goal is to isolate a specific compound, or a simulated garden where the test-taker can conduct an experiment to learn about (or be tested on) a concept in genetics. 

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Theories of Action Aren’t Enough: An Argument for Logic Models

If you've ever worked with someone from the Center, been in a Center staff meeting, or even had dinner with someone from the Center, you know that we refer to Theories of Action incessantly. It may sound wonky and weedy (and it is), but there's a reason why we value it so much. That's because a theory of action (TOA) can help us clarify what we truly believe should happen if a program or system is implemented. 

Defining a Theory of Action to Help Guide Longer-Term Goals

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How Can Every Educator Achieve Assessment Literacy?

I am encouraged that so many educational leaders are wrestling with systematically bringing educational reforms to scale. Unfortunately, as these leaders have come to realize, achieving widespread implementation of meaningful reforms is really hard – especially when pursuing a goal of increasing assessment literacy.

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Making the Most of the Summative State Assessment

This post is based on an invited presentation Charlie DePascale made at the nineteenth annual Maryland Assessment Research Center (MARC) conference at the University of Maryland on November 8, 2019.

“Our teachers are thrilled that the new summative state assessment is so much shorter. Now, what additional student scores can we report from it to help them improve instruction?”

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In Search of Simple Solutions for the NAEP Results

The 2019 NAEP results (National Assessment of Educational Progress) were released last week to much consternation, except perhaps in Mississippi and Washington, D.C., where improved results were celebrated.

Nationally, results were up slightly in fourth-grade math, flat in eighth-grade math, and down in both fourth and eighth-grade reading. These results continue a disturbing lack of progress over the last decade. 

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Do Interim Assessments Have A Role in Balanced Systems of Assessment?

Interim assessments may have a role in balanced assessment systems, but that role is not conferred by title. It is conferred by logic and evidence tied to particular purposes and uses. 

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The Reality of Innovation in Educational Assessment

This post is the follow-up to my previous post discussing the realities of innovation in large-scale educational assessment. In Part 1, I defined innovation as a change that not only improved an existing process or product, but also was found to have solved a problem or meet a need and, therefore, was adopted and used; that is, it changed the way things were done in the field.  

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The Reality Faced by Innovators of Educational Assessments

The Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) provision of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) ostensibly offers states the flexibility needed to “establish, operate, and evaluate an innovative assessment system” with the goal of using that educational assessment to meet the ESSA academic assessment and statewide accountability system requirements. 

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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