Innovative Assessment and Accountability Systems

The Center for Assessment has a long history of leadership in developing rich and innovative assessment systems to support instructional reforms for enhancing student learning. Rich Hill and Brian Gong led the Kentucky assessment reforms immediately prior to starting the Center in 1998 and together with Scott Marion, while he was the assessment leader in Wyoming; the Center was instrumental in Wyoming’s renowned Body of Evidence Assessment System. Center staff members push the boundaries of assessment innovation with work on incorporating performance-based and new forms of writing assessment on state assessments. Much of this work was under the radar during the No Child Left Behind era but there has been a renewed spark among state and district leaders to pursue both richer assessments and intentionally coherent assessment systems.

The Center for Assessment has been on the front lines to support such work. Most noteworthy, as the lead technical partner and key policy advisor for New Hampshire’s innovative assessment and accountability pilot, Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE), the Center is ensuring the quality and rigor of PACE performance assessments and designing methods for evaluating the comparability of student results across districts. PACE served as a model for creation of the Innovative Assessment and Accountability Demonstration (IADA) in the recently-passed ESSA, which opened the door for seven states to pursue the type of innovation experienced in New Hampshire.

The Center for Assessment supported both New Hampshire and Louisiana in winning approval as the first two states granted flexibility under the IADA in 2018 and continues to serve as a critical technical and policy partner in New Hampshire as well as serving as a lead technical partner on Louisiana’s innovative assessment system. This video is a brief summary of the New Hampshire and Louisiana stories.

Our work in Gwinnett County, Georgia, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Polk County, Florida, and Guilford County, Connecticut are further examples of partnerships with school districts interested in the design and development of innovative, balanced assessment systems.

Along with partners at KnowledgeWorks and with support from the Nellie Mae Foundation, the Center has produced a series of technical and policy briefs intended to help state leaders grapple with meeting the requirements of the Demonstration Authority. These are in addition to a wealth of resources related to the specific requirements of the Demonstration Authority, as well as in support competency-based education and assessment systems in general. A recent list follows (all found on the Center’s website except where noted).

Why are States Participating in the ESSA Innovative Pilot?

Hear from educational leaders in New Hampshire and Louisiana, two states that have applied for the Every Student Succeeds Act's Innovative Assessment Pilot, about why they believe this opportunity will help support next-generation assessment systems.