Assessment Literacy Brief for Policymakers

Educational assessments are powerful tools for guiding and informing teaching, learning, and school and district improvement. They are one of the multiple measures policymakers can use to improve the performance of schools and districts. Classroom and other local assessments are also critical components of the teaching and learning system.

State policy leaders, particularly state education chiefs, legislators, and state board members, play a critical role in defining state—and even some local—assessments. In addition to relying on state and national assessment experts, state policy leaders will find it helpful to understand key assessment concepts to effectively support state assessment programs that yield meaningful, actionable results. Understanding certain foundational concepts of student assessment can help policy makers positively influence the quality of state assessments and, in turn, the quality of education.

The Center for Assessment and the Assessment Literacy Work Group of the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Technical Issues in Large Scale Assessment state collaborative produced this brief to build understanding among state policymakers about key aspects of large-scale statewide assessment.