Assessment Systems

Comprehensive and balanced assessment systems are the subject of current technical and policy conversations, but designing effective and efficient systems can be fraught with major obstacles. Center professionals work with states and districts to first help identify highest priority uses and outline a Theory of Action. They then design and implement an assessment solution that may include formative, interim, and/or large-scale summative assessments, to meet the identified needs. In addition to their assessment expertise in general, Center professionals are recognized as national leaders in assessment design for students with significant cognitive disabilities and English language learners. The Center is also a leader in designing innovative assessment system to support educational reforms.


The Center-led assessment design process focuses on:

  • Identifying priority purposes and uses
  • Creating a Theory of Action as a framework for design and evaluation
  • Supporting the writing of RFPs to help the client identify high-quality assessment contractors
  • Creating assessment specifications and other design documents
  • Addressing special needs populations and other traditionally underperforming groups of students
  • Complying with federal and state laws and regulations
  • Generating policy recommendations such as recommended statutory changes necessary to support the proposed assessment design


It is one thing to design an assessment or assessment system, but Center professionals, with a wealth of practical and operational experience, also guide clients through the challenges of implementing new and/or revised assessment systems. They are expert in supporting states and other clients in the ongoing monitoring of assessment systems quality; e.g., supporting states in reviewing equating results, analyzing test interruptions, preparing for peer review audits, and leading technical evaluations.