Effective accountability systems are built to support prioritized educational goals and meet rigorous technical criteria. Center professionals work with states and districts to design and implement systems that are responsive to their particular needs, yet incorporate best practices and effective approaches being used in other states and districts. The Center for Assessment is also a leader in working with clients to design innovative accountability approaches to support educational reforms.


The design process emphasizes the importance of:

  • Identifying priority goals and objectives
  • Creating a theory of action as a framework for design and evaluation
  • Establishing meaningful measures and indicators
  • Integrating a coherent assessment system
  • Building system of continuous improvement
  • Addressing special needs populations and other traditionally underperforming groups of students
  • Complying with federal and state laws and regulations
  • Generating policy recommendations in support of the proposed designs


Center professionals guide clients in planning, implementing and evaluating new systems, and/or targeted tasks related to the implementation and evaluation of components within new or existing systems.

Relevant activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Determining state needs
  • Setting policy and legislative goals
  • Preparing draft legislation
  • Creating a credible theory of action
  • Planning annual progress measurement programs
  • Developing and/or evaluating RFPs
  • Evaluating assessment and accountability systems and data for effectiveness, legal compliance, innovative approaches, adherence to best practices, technical accuracy
  • Assessing program efficacy in promoting specific educational or legislative goals