Standards and Assessments

Below are the most recent news, reports, and recommendations around standards and assessments.

Dallas Assistant Superintendent: Career and Technical Education Can Be Tool for Equity

Though all students have lost ground due to school closures amid the pandemic, Dallas Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova says “there are bright spots illuminating a path to success for our high school students: giving them a genuine purpose for learning in high-quality career-technical education (CTE)…

Schools Find Proactive Ways to Remain IDEA Compliant During Pandemic

For many schools, ensuring that students who receive special education resources were able to continue receiving services during the pandemic proved to be one of the most difficult challenges resulting from school closures – one that has carried an uptick in “due process” litigation cases…

Henig: ‘Data’ Doesn’t Have to be a Dirty Word in Education

In a recent piece in Education Week, Columbia University political science and education professor Jeffrey Henig urges the administration of President Joe Biden to commit earnestly to building a “community-friendly national culture of data generation, dissemination, and use.” Henig adds, “A reimagined system of data…

FL: State Officials Extend English Proficiency Testing Window, Make Test Optional

In an effort to keep the flow of academic data flowing while accommodating the concerns parents have in sending their children to test in-person, Florida education officials announced that the state’s English proficiency exams will be optional this year. The state’s public school chancellor, Jacob…

NY: Advocates Bring Attention to Benefits and Need for Arts Education During Pandemic

Penny Swift, director of the NYC nonprofit Education Through Music, says that the arts are integral to a “well-rounded education” – echoing the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 – and says that the pandemic presents an opportunity to “reprioritize funding for arts education as…

Conservative Education Leaders Lay Out Vision for Assessments Through COVID-19

The pandemic poses a number of obvious and well-discussed challenges to testing but, according to the Fordham Institute’s Michael Petrilli and the American Enterprise Institute’s Frederick Hess, it also presents “even bigger opportunities.” Petrilli and Hess take to an opinion piece in the Hill to…

States Move Forward with Focus on Data to Guide Pandemic Recovery, While Some Seek Waivers

New York and Michigan added their names to the list of states again requesting a waiver of annual assessments required by ESSA, citing continued disruption imposed by the pandemic. While the states join a few others in asking for the tests to be called off,…

MT: State Superintendent Announces Record Low Dropout, Looks Ahead to Rising Graduation Rates

Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen announced a statewide dropout rate of less than 2%, a historic low and a possible indicator of coming increases to the graduation rate. Arntzen credited persistent actions taken under the state’s ESSA plan to increase graduation rates, engage…

Cardon’s Perspective as Former English Learner Could Drive Direction at Education Department

If confirmed, President JoeBiden’s pick for education secretary, Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, would bring a perspective previously unseen in the role – that of a student whose first language was Spanish and who learned English primarily at school. As a former English learner, writes…

TN: Three Bills in Special Legislative Session to Target Schools, COVID Learning Loss

Tennessee lawmakers are considering three education bills in a special legislative session this week to focus on addressing learning loss, particularly declines in literacy and math proficiency, amid the pandemic. The bills would temporarily suspend accountability requirements defined in the state’s ESSA plan, require interventions…

ID: Statewide Graduation Rate Inches Upward Amid Pandemic; Gains Aren’t Felt by All Students

Despite a global pandemic that forced schools closed in the final months of the academic year, Idaho schools saw an increase in the statewide graduation rate in 2020, marking the first time the rate surpassed 82%. Though officials celebrated the gains, educators and advocates in…

WY: Wyoming Joins Other States in Pausing Accountability Requirements Amid COVID, Closures

Wyoming education officials officially announced their intent to request waivers of federal accountability requirements as outlined by ESSA amid the continued disruption of the pandemic. Wyoming joins a number of states making similar announcements while also indicating a desire or intent to administer statewide annual…

Tennessee Officials to Use Federal Education, COVID Funds for Statewide Literacy Initiative

Tennessee will use flexibility granted by ESSA to use federal education funds, as well as a portion of the state’s COVID-19 recovery funds, to bolster resources and support aimed at improving literacy outcomes for Tennessee students. Noting that just above a third of third-graders in…

Rep. Bobby Scott Discusses Assessments, ESSA in Education Interview

In an interview with Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., chairman of the House education committee, reiterated his firm support for administering annual state assessments amid the pandemic. “If we don’t know how far behind these students are, we won’t know how much…

State Grants Aim to Improve Rural Student Access to STEM/STEAM Programs

Georgia education officials announced that nearly $250,000 is being awarded to seven rural school districts to increase access to STEM and STEAM education programs. “Through this grant program and others,” State Superintendent Richard Woods said, “we’re working to ensure schools in rural Georgia have the…

Advocate Urges Schools and Districts to Prioritize Taking Attendance During Pandemic

Schools should be encouraged by state education agencies to take daily attendance during online and hybrid learning, says Attendance Works Executive Director Hedy Chang in a recent interview with FutureEd’s Phyllis Jordan. The pair discussed a new Attendance Works report focused on state attendance policies…

Hawaii Education Officials Find Bright Spot in Otherwise Lean School Report Card

Hawaii is the latest state to release a truncated school report card amid a lack of assessment data in every state due to the cancellation of spring summative exams earlier this year. Without the data from state tests, report cards have been unable to include…

Special Education Advocates Hopeful for Biden Administration

As the first presidential candidate in decades to include full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as a campaign goal, President-elect Joe Biden has promised to make an effort to deliver billions of dollars of additional federal funding to special education programs…

D.C. Makes Gains in Graduation Rate Despite Pandemic

New graduation data announced by Mayor Muriel Bowser last week showed impressive gains in the number of students who successfully graduated in the 2019-20 school year, despite the abrupt closing of schools in the spring at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The district saw…

New Research Shows Weaknesses in State School Improvement Networks

A new study from the Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia University found that state school improvement networks frequently struggle to “scale up” successful policies or programs from the school to district or state levels. As outlined by ESSA, networks of schools established…

Improving School Mental Health and Wellness Efforts Through Arts Education

Arts education can be leveraged by schools to deepen mental health and wellness resources for students, says the Education Commission of the States, which in a time of great disruption in education, should include trauma-informed approaches to instruction and student and family outreach. State, district,…

Nine West Virginia School Districts Flagged By State For Support

The West Virginia Department of Education has marked nine school districts as needing assistance in the areas of finance, special education, and Pre-K readiness after an accountability report was completed ahead of a recent Board of Education meeting. State education officials noted that the nine…

Five Years After ESSA Was Signed, COVID-19 Applies Pressure Test to the Law

Five years after it was signed into law, the Every Student Succeeds Act is being challenged by the unanticipated disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Andrew Ujifusa for Education Week. At greatest risk, he says, are the assessment and accountability systems required of individual states;…

Education Reporters Cover Questions Around Assessments, Accountability Amid COVID-19

As conversations around the 2020-21 assessment period and the direction of accountability systems more generally become an increasingly fraught topic by district and state school leaders, EWA posted an overview of the topic geared toward education reporters. Specifically, the piece highlights ongoing back-and-forths between a…

Inequities in Career and Technical Education Programs Revealed by New Analysis

An analysis of career and technical vocational (CTE) programs in middle and high schools by the Hechinger Report and Associated Press found deep inequities in the populations of students steered into various programs. Across 40 states, Black and Latino students were significantly less likely to…