Assessment Insights

How 2 Schools Improved Their Assessments and Increased Student Learning

[fa icon="calendar"] May, 2018 / by Press Room

Press Room

As Measured Progress representatives talk with district and school leaders across the country, a few common themes emerge: Time and resources are limited; educators are looking for high-rigor common assessments that align to their standards; and using and interpreting data to inform instruction remains a challenge.

How can school leaders overcome these challenges? It’s not as simple as selecting a new assessment. It takes a lot of communication, collaboration, and support among curriculum leaders, data coaches, technology teams, classroom teachers, and more. But it can be done. Here are two examples of schools that have addressed the challenges, working with the Assessment Services team at Measured Progress.

Boston Public Schools

Boston-Case-Study-thumbThe challenge

Boston Public Schools (BPS) had a challenge: How to ensure educator access to high-quality, formative assessments across 125 different schools using different curricula and programs across all grade levels.  The district needed to build a new set of assessments that would:

  • Support differentiated instruction and pacing;
  • Measure all students’ progress toward proficiency of grade-level standards;
  • Meet or exceed the rigorous expectations of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and the state assessment; and
  • Address diversity within the district to be fair and equitable for all students.
The solution

BPS contracted the Measured Progress Assessment Services Team to construct three new assessments per grade, per curriculum, to be administered in the fall, winter, and spring. As a result, their new assessments have been customized to BPS requirements and now match the curricula and pacing used in the schools, ensuring equity for all public school students in Boston.

The results

The new rigorous common assessments across the district demonstrate tighter alignment to state standards and create new opportunities for data-driven instruction. The district is now ready to push the conversation beyond individual student learning and look at broader curriculum goals, supporting schools in building intervention supports, technology integration, and teacher professional development. The end goal will always remain intact—having access to data to explore why students are performing at particular levels and adjusting teacher practice accordingly.

“The quality of the content, the company’s reputation as being a good partner to districts, and the staff’s understanding of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks really made Measured Progress stand out.” 
Michael Rubino, Formative Assessment Manager, Boston Public Schools,
Office of Data and Accountability

Archdiocese of Omaha

The challenge

Leaders of the 70 schools in the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska choose assessments and instructional resources to support teaching the Archdiocesan Curriculum Standards within each of their schools. But the centralized Catholic Schools Office (CSO) needed a more consistent way to monitor student learning and academic performance across the archdiocese. The CSO was looking for support to build a set of common math assessments that would provide adequate data to inform instruction and support student learning across all the schools.

The solution
  • Grade 5 mathematics
  • Grade 7 mathematics
  • High School Algebra 1 and geometry
The results

The Omaha Archdiocese is now ready to administer a set of customized common math assessments that were built with input from teacher leaders across the Archdiocese. This test-construction project provided a professional development opportunity for teachers to gain a better understanding of best practices for curriculum alignment and evidence-centered test design. The data from the newly-created assessments accurately assess student knowledge and skills in mathematics and can be used to inform data-driven discussions. Based on the success of this project, the CSO is looking to expand the project to include science teachers for the next school year.

Improving assessments for districts of any size


Large schools aren’t the only ones that can benefit from improved, tailored assessments. Measured Progress Assessment Services experts also work with smaller districts and dioceses to create customized assessments that follow their curricula scope, sequence, and pacing, and align to state standards. Read more stories about how different schools improved the quality of their assessments on the new success stories page.

Openings available for summer projects

Have a set of assessments you’d like to improve? There are limited summer openings now available in the Assessment Services team’s project schedule. We can work with you to craft a solution that fits your needs. Interested?  Let us know.

Topics: Classroom Assessment, Formative Assessment, Performance Levels, Connecting Teaching and Learning

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Written by Press Room

Our Press Room chooses topics of interest from activities around the company, to provide a closer look at ways to improve learning and instruction, and to help demystify assessment issues.