It’s budget season. And invariably, education leaders around the country sit in countless meetings to determine yearly budgets and ensure wise use of resources. The same thing took place last year, too, with every expense carefully planned—from bus maintenance to computers to cafeteria trays. But spring has arrived, and you may find yourself with a good problem—money left in this year’s budget, despite the careful planning. Measured Progress has some good news that can help you make excellent use of those funds.
Over the last decade, expectations of statewide tests have gotten a little out of hand. As Measured Progress founder Stuart Kahl facetiously puts it, politicians and policy makers want nothing less than “a single, summative, formative, adaptive, diagnostic, general achievement test that measures growth and yields immediate results that teachers can use right away to modify their instruction.” A single assessment of this kind surely doesn’t exist, but Dr. Kahl explores ways to approach that ambitious goal in a recent white paper, “How can state assessments better test deeper learning? Three models that can work.” Given states’ ongoing work to meet ESSA requirements and introduce innovation in their assessment systems, it’s a good time to consider new approaches. Read on for a few highlights from the paper.
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.