Our goal is to support your school, district or state in navigating assessment and accountability to help improve student learning. Here, we share the latest news and views from the Center for Assessment team.

    Blog posts

    Educational Assessment Accountability ESEA Innovation Assessment Innovative Assessment

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

    Starting a Discussion on How Federal Policy Can Better Support Innovation to Increase Student Learning Opportunities

    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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    Text-Dependent Analysis Educational Assessment Writing Instruction Assessment

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

    Understanding That Higher Expectations for Instruction and Student Performance are Necessary to Meet 21st Century Demands

    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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    Educational Assessment Scoring Automated Scoring Validity Test Score Reliability Assessment

    Understanding and Mitigating Rater Inaccuracies in Educational Assessment Scoring

    Rater Monitoring with Inter-Rater Reliability may Not be Enough for Next-Generation Assessments

    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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    Educational Assessment Accountability logic models Assessment

    Is Our Work in Educational Assessment and Accountability Helping to Improve Student Learning and the Student Experience?

    Applying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Work Through Career-Life Crises and Better Understand What Actions Support Student Outcomes

    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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    Assessment Use of Assessment Results teaching quality Educational Assessment

    Teaching to the Test

    High-Quality Assessments Used for the Right Reasons May be a Useful Tool for Teachers to improve Teaching Quality

    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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    Educational Assessment ESSA Balanced Assessment Systems Assessment

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

    Looking Back at a Transformative Decade in Educational Assessment

    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.  

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    educational accountability program evaluation ESSA

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

    Focusing on the Link Between Accountability Identification and Improvement Using a Three-Step Approach

    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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    Educational Assessment teaching quality assessment use Assessment Systems

    Can Educational Assessment Improve Teaching?

    What Would it Take to Design an Assessment System Around a Goal of Improving Teachers’ Knowledge and Skills?

    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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    technology-enhanced items TEI Assessment computer-based testing Innovative Assessment

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

    Establishing Scoring Rules to Make the Use of TEIs More Efficient and Effective

    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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