Our goal is to support your school, district, or state in navigating assessment and accountability to help improve student learning.

The complex and multi-faceted problems we face rarely have a single or simple solution. On CenterLine, we encourage the Center team and guest authors to present a diversity of viewpoints, and an author’s view may evolve as conditions change and understandings grow.

CenterLine posts, unless specifically noted, are not official views of the Center for Assessment.

    Blog posts

    State Testing Educational Assessment Through Year Assessment Assessment

    Why Has it Been So Difficult to Develop a Viable Through Year Assessment?

    An Assessment Cannot Both Portray Summative Student Performance and Purport to be Used to Improve Student Performance in the Short-Term

    There has been a buzz that “through year” or “through course” assessment represents a better way for states to assess than today’s pervasive end of the year summative assessment.  However, no through year assessment has yet been implemented statewide with results acknowledged as acceptable for use comparable to end of year summative assessment scores.

    Why Has it Been so Difficult to Get a Viable Through Year Assessment?

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    State Testing Educational Assessment School Disruption Assessment COVID-19 Response

    Focus, Fix, Fit: Understanding the Meaning of 2021 Test Scores

    Finding a Path Forward with Existing Tools and Procedures

    To answer the question of what 2021 test scores will mean, I start by acknowledging that the interpretation of assessment results is always a process of reasoning from evidence, with some level of uncertainty. As with all things COVID, we expect to have more uncertainty this year, but we still have the tools to examine just how uncertain we are about the meaning of test scores in 2021.

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    formative assessment school disruptions Remote Learning COVID-19 Response Assessment

    Practical Advice for Adapting Formative Assessment Practices to Remote Learning Contexts

    Combining Good Pedagogy and Technology to Conduct Assessment Informs Future Instruction

    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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    State Testing Educational Assessment school disruptions COVID-19 Response

    Understanding Pandemic Learning Loss and Learning Recovery 

    The Role of Student Growth & Statewide Testing

    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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    Assessment Reform Educational Assessment Accountability Assessment Education Policy

    Accountability as a Roadblock to Assessment Reform

    Advocating for Changes to Federal Accountability Requirements to Enable Innovative Assessment

    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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    school disruptions State Testing Fall Assessment Assessment COVID-19 Response

    Reflections From a Decade of Fall Testing

    Compelling Reasons to Think Twice Before Moving 2021 Spring State Testing to the Fall

    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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    School Disruption State Testing Educational Assessment Reporting Test Results Accountability Use of Assessment Results COVID-19 Response

    State Testing in 2021: Messaging Matters More than Ever 

    How Can We Best Communicate Test Results Given the Challenges of Learning in a Pandemic?

    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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    grading score scales student engagement school disruptions

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

    What We Can Learn About Both Student Engagement and Grading Systems from Current Failure Rates

    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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    Educational Assessment Remote Testing comparability school disruptions Assessment COVID-19 Response

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

    Acknowledging the Lack of Evidence that Remote Testing Can Measure Up to In-Person Testing

    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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    Accountability Educational Assessment COVID-19 Response 2020 Assessment

    Oh, What a Year!

    Looking Back so We Can Look Forward: Assessment and Accountability Challenges During a Pandemic

    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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