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.
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?
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.
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.
The harsh reality is that behind the school choice movement is some people’s belief that public schools just aren’t doing a good job of educating children. This belief is bolstered by U.S. students’ disappointing performance on international tests and data showing that an increasing number of entering college freshmen need remedial course work. Despite alternative explanations of this evidence, the negative views of our public schools feed a more general movement toward privatization by the powers that be.
“Why do assessment?” That’s the question we ask ourselves regularly, on behalf of our customers and clients. It helps us stay true to our mission—to improve teaching and learning—and to make sure we’re delivering valuable solutions to the students, teachers, and administrators who assess students every day.