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.
Stringent security policies have been in place over many years for statewide accountability measures and other high-stakes tests. But at Measured Progress, we’ve begun to think that best practices for test security should also apply to districtwide assessments, such as district interim assessments, benchmarks, and others.
Late in 2016, district leaders for the Boston Public Schools (BPS) identified a challenge for their system: It was difficult to assess student learning consistently and accurately for their 125 schools, because curriculum and pacing for each grade varied across schools.
Educators inherently understand the importance of a balanced assessment system—and ESSA emphasizes that need. But what does a balanced assessment system look like? As an assessment company with an active mission to improve student learning with meaningful assessment, we spend a lot of time thinking about things like this.
It’s safe to say that educators and administrators at all levels support the idea of a balanced assessment system. But what do those words mean? What does such a system look like? We’ve given a lot of thought to this and other aspects of the future of educational assessment.