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

    Competency-based Assessment Accountability

    What Do I Need to Know About Competency-Based Grading?

    Part 2: Getting Beyond the Hype--Potential Problems with Competency-Based Grading

    This post is Part 2 of a three-part series on competency-based grading. Part 1 described the key similarities and differences between traditional, standards-based, and competency-based grading practices. 

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    Education Policy Competency-based Assessment

    What Do I Need to Know About Competency-Based Grading?

    Part 1: Getting Clear about Definitions--Similarities and Differences Among Traditional-, Standards-Based, and Competency-Based Grading Practices

    This is the first in a three-part series on competency-based grading. I was motivated to write this series because of recent conversations about competency-based grading within my children’s school district. I’ve noticed confusion about terms, misinformation, propaganda, and a general lack of high-quality resources on the subject. My goal for this series is to help guide honest and transparent conversations about key issues and best practices by: 

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    Assessment Accountability

    Beyond Faster and Cheaper, Could Automated Scoring Produce Better Scores?

    Using Advances in Technology to Improve the Quality of Educational Assessment

    Earlier this month, the Center for Assessment held its 15th annual colloquium, the first named in honor of Center co-founder, Brian Gong. The Brian Gong Colloquium is a two-day meeting arranged by the Center for Assessment to discuss select topics of importance in testing and accountability with recognized experts. 

    The 2019 meeting focused on the present and future use of learning analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in educational assessment, and highlighted topics including:

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    Assessment RILS

    Stuck in the Middle With Interim Assessments

    Improving the Selection, Use, and Evaluation of Interim Assessments

    How do you select an interim assessment that will meet your specific goals and needs?  

    What assessment characteristics are necessary to support a particular test use, and what evidence of quality should be evaluated to determine whether that use is supported? 

    How do you know if educators and schools are appropriately interpreting and using assessment results? 

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    Assessment Accountability Education Policy

    Discussing What Matters at the National Conference on Student Assessment

    The Latest Insights, Innovations, and Ongoing Inquiries in Assessment and Accountability from the Center Team and Our Partners

    Each June, the Center team and our partners gather with others around the country for the Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO) National Conference on Student Assessment to share our work on K-12 assessment and accountability matters. 

    CCSSO has said about this year’s upcoming event, “the goal of the 2019 conference is to give states a forum to share the best practices, strategies, research studies, resources, and innovative methods when measuring student learning and holding districts and schools accountable for educational progress.” 

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    Accountability Assessment Education Policy

    Understanding Nominal and Effective Weights in School Accountability Systems

    Weights Assigned to Indicators May Not Reflect Their Actual Contribution to Final Scores

    States give a lot of weight to the weights given to the indicators in their accountability systems. Decisions such as whether Achievement and Growth should count equally, and how much impact the School Quality and School Success indicator should have on a school’s final rating, can be quite difficult to make–and even more difficult to communicate effectively to local educators and other stakeholders. All too often, however, the weights states assign to indicators don't reflect the actual influence each indicator has on a school’s composite score and accountability rating.

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    Open Educational Resources Assessment Open Analytics Reporting Assessment Reports Educational Dashboards

    Assessment Dashboards, Reports, and Open Analytics

    Supporting State Department of Education Staff with Internal Decision Making

    The results of educational assessments have never been more visible. Over the past 20 years, the reporting of state assessment results has shifted from oft-ignored printed handouts to publicly-available online dashboards and report cards. Parents, schools, and the general public have an almost unheard of level of access to data describing school performance.

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    Assessment Education Policy Common Core Balanced Assessment Systems

    An Unfinished Track to College and Career Readiness

    How we can use state assessment effectively to support a K-12 path that leads to postsecondary success

    Between 2008 and 2010, I made regular trips to Washington, DC through Dulles Airport, working on projects related to the development of the Common Core State Standards and the creation of the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium. As I rode an airport shuttle or Metrobus to and from Dulles, I would watch the crews grading and preparing the track bed for the Silver Line Metro train that would finally connect Dulles with the rest of the DC Metro system.  

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    Assessment State Assessment Education Policy Accountability stability

    Don’t Go Changing: The Importance of Stability in State Assessment and Accountability Systems

    Frequent Changes to State Assessment Systems Place Educational Improvement on Shaky Ground.

    “We just administered our third assessment in the past five years.” 

    “That’s nothing; we’re on our fifth assessment in the past four years.” 

    I wish these were fictional statements, but as one of the coordinators of a working group of state assessment leaders, I regularly hear stories like these from many of our 40+ state participants. 

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    A Matter of Indifference

    Current Assessments May Require New Equating Methods and Procedures to Ensure Results will be Comparable Across Test Forms

    One of the fundamental tenets of equating two tests is that it should be a matter of indifference to an examinee as to which of the two tests they take.  

    When two or more students receive the same scale score on their state’s Grade 3 reading test, we want to be able to make the same inferences about their performance, even if they responded to almost entirely different sets of items.

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