The topic of college and career readiness is broad and deep, but a generally accepted definition of being ready for college and career is that students graduate from high school prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary opportunities—whether college or the workforce—without the need for remediation. Others—such as these from Achieve, the Redefining Ready campaign, ACTE, the Association for Career and Technical Education, and Inflexion—include additional nuance.
Delivering high-quality assessments that provide evidence of student understanding can be a challenge, especially when time and resources are stretched thin. Accurate and relevant assessments that help inform future instruction require a rigorous development process with several levels of review, but often district staff members simply don’t have that time and expertise. So, can you ensure quality assessments—even if they’re created quickly, with limited resources?
School districts adopt a range of assessments in their balanced assessment systems. Some assessments are meant specifically to support learning—to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses, help teachers plan instruction, and evaluate the effectiveness of curricula. Others are meant to predict future performance or accomplish other goals. To help educators and professionals get on common ground with terminology, we’ve explored the definitions and purpose of interim and benchmark assessments. Now we offer a new video to add to our collective understanding of these district-level assessments.
The past year saw LOTS of discussion about different types of assessment and their most suitable uses. In fact, we’ve heard from many districts that recent conversations have led to frank evaluations of what assessments they need, and in some cases, what assessments they no longer need.
Is it just us, or does it feel like this year has been especially frenetic? There’s so much going on in education and assessment—and so much going on in the world.
With a focus on college and career readiness (CCR), many states have implemented new standards for instruction and annual accountability assessments. Districts now must reconsider their assessments to make sure their beginning-of-year, mid-year, or end-of-year measures are consistent with the state’s expectations of higher-order critical thinking skills.
We recently attended the 2017 California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) conference in Sacramento. Conversations with teachers underscored the continuing need for classroom and district science resources to support the transition to NGSS*.
From classroom teachers to state policy makers, many educators are focused on creating and implementing meaningful assessments. Teachers and district leaders need items that support solid formative assessment practices. They want to use the evidence gathered from these items to inform decisions about instructional strategies, student groupings, and learning targets for individual students and groups. State policy makers and psychometricians focus more on long-range plans such as those to meet ESSA requirements. Suffice it to say, assessment is on educators’ minds.