The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) emphasizes the need for a balanced assessment system (BAS). While there’s a lot of uncertainty about the fate of ESSA, many of us in the K–12 world understand the inherent rightness of a BAS and will persist in seeking that kind of comprehensive assessment plan. It’s the bright, elusive butterfly of assessment—we all want it, and we’re all working hard to pin it down. We’ve established our vision of a BAS, and it’s based on having a clear understanding of the goals and uses of various assessment types.
During this busy holiday season, we’re pausing to think about how much we value your contributions as an educator. Your daily presence shapes your students’ lives in a meaningful way—and here at Measured Progress, we recognize your energy, passion, enthusiasm, and dedication to teaching and learning. We came across a quote we think says it best: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell when his influence stops.”
Fall conferences are in full swing for educators, and Measured Progress recently attended two regional science conferences: the California Science Education Conference (CSTA) in Palm Springs, and the first regional NSTA conference of 2016 in Minneapolis. It was incredibly energizing to meet so many science educators, and we came away from both conferences very impressed by the dedication of K–12 educators in the science community. Attendees described their shared mission to educate today’s students to know, think, and act like scientists and engineers, in line with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)*, and they offered numerous ideas about how to best fulfill that mission.
Having to select new curriculum and find appropriate NGSS-aligned assessment tools to support your transition to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS*) can be a challenge. According to a recent article in Education Dive, the hurdle is even higher: “Teachers should be assessing whether students get the core ideas, but they also need to know whether students understand the larger framework and the ways scientists and engineers approach questions about the world.” In other words, K-12 science education today has to go beyond confirming content knowledge, to helping students make connections across science disciplines. At the same time, students are tasked to figure out how to understand natural phenomenon and create solutions to design problems. That’s a tall order, for sure.
Supporting the Students of Massachusetts
Stating the obvious, K–12 educational assessment is a complicated business. It’s not just because education standards and federal assessment requirements change. Throw in politics, state legislation, and the extremely public debates about testing, and it’s remarkable that progress is made at all.
Every summer Measured Progress welcomes a few standout doctoral students to join the psychometrics team, through the Nambury Raju Internship Program. The program gives up-and-coming psychometricians a chance to put their coursework to practical use, and keeps Measured Progress psychometricians connected to current university programs in the field. This year, we welcomed two accomplished students to the program.
If you work in assessment, you know that the answer to this question is far from simple. Early this month our director of Psychometrics, Dr. Jennifer Dunn, gave a talk at TEDxPiscataquaRiver in Portsmouth, NH. Titled “Using Data to Motivate Change,” Dr. Dunn described her own introduction to psychometrics, and how the challenge of measuring the intangible—what a person knows—captured her interest. Here are some of the main points of her talk.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS*) demand a shift in how educators approach science education. This shift includes an emphasis on the integration of three dimensions: to incorporate an understanding of how scientists and engineers think and act with the learning progression of science content. Students need opportunities to engage in learning that blend all three dimensions of the standards: