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?
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.