Standards and Assessments

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

Schools Across the Nation Boost Outreach Efforts to High Schoolers At Risk of Not Graduating

Soaring numbers of high school students are failing classes or are considered “chronically absent” this school year, leading to a nationwide push by educators to track down and engage older students they fear might not reach graduation after a year disrupted by the pandemic. A…

Advocates Underscore a National Focus on Data in Education

“The data moment has arrived,” says Data Quality Campaign President and CEO Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger in a piece for the 74 Million. Citing the prioritization of data collection and use throughout a number of Executive Orders and strategies employed by President Joe Biden, Bell-Ellwanger says, “it’s…

CO: Gov. Polis Proposes Major Expansion of Early Childhood Programs, Funding

A bill being considered in Colorado would establish a dedicated early childhood department tasked with building a plan for universal preschool in the state by 2023. Using funds from a new nicotine tax recently approved by voters, the expansion of pre-K in the state would…

CA: Officials to Adopt ‘Student Growth Model’ in Assessment, Accountability Systems

Members of the California State Board seemed finally ready to push the state’s data and accountability system to track student progress over time, an action that has been urged in the state by experts, advocates, and even federal education officials since 2015. Due to the…

FL: Gov. DeSantis Signs Bills Addressing Early Childhood Education and Literacy Rates

Florida is the latest state to take steps to expand early learning programs and tackle declining literacy rates, two topics that have remained at the forefront of officials’ plans to reopen schools, make up for learning lost to the pandemic, and strategically invest billions of…

Biden Unveils $1.8 Trillion ‘American Families Plan’

The Biden administration proposed this week what would be the most significant expansion of education programs in at least a generation with a $1.8 trillion package focused on families and children. The proposal calls for universal pre-K for 3- and 4- year-olds, two years of…

VA: Superintendent Says Tests This Year Are Focused on Student Recovery, Not Accountability

Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane says that the state’s focus for spring testing this school year is to collect data on students’ academic needs in order to address pandemic disruption as schools reopen. Lane made the comments in a video shared by the…

NC: Beaufort Schools Awarded Grant for Pre-Med, Technology Magnet Programs

Seven schools in North Carolina’s Beaufort County will receive funding to deliver new magnet programs in the areas of pre-med, network engineering, and cybersecurity thanks to a grant from the federal Education Department. The grant program is focused on expanding outreach to minority students and…

DE: Bill Would Grant Civics Day to Students, Encourage Community Engagement

A bipartisan group of Delaware lawmakers is sponsoring a bill that would give students in the state one day a year to engage in civic activities, ranging from protests, to legislative sessions, to speaking on behalf of causes they support. The bill, if passed, would…

Feds Draw Fine Line on Testing This Spring

Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa says “a disconnect has emerged between the federal government requiring states to offer their tests, and districts’ power to exempt students from taking them,” citing the nuanced path federal education officials have taken in responding to individual state requests for scaling…

CO: Accountability Pause Gets Go-Ahead from Biden Administration

Colorado education officials were given approval to pause much of its accountability system this school year by the Biden administration. Instead, the state was told to be prepared to meet federal accountability requirements by 2022. Because of the shift, Colorado officials will not have to…

Blog Series Explores Evolving Issue of State School Accountability

The Education Commission of the States published the final piece in a 3-part series on school accountability, exploring how rapidly state accountability systems had to adapt to the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and the abrupt halt of data collection systems typically used to inform…

ArtScan Policy Tracker Updated for 2021

The Arts Education Partnership is out with an update to its ArtScan policy database and one-pager, which was developed in coordination with the Education Commission of the States. The 2021 updates feature coverage of new arts education policies and initiatives in states like Florida, where…

FL: Education Commissioner Waives High-Stakes Consequences of Tests

As spring testing kicked off across the sunshine state this week, Florida education officials confirmed that typical “high-stakes” consequences of the exams, like grade promotions and school accountability measures, would be paused this school year. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said the move would alleviate the…

D.C.: Request to Cancel Spring Tests Approved by Federal Officials

D.C. is now the only state to have its waiver request for federally-required assessments approved by the Education Department, even as handfuls of other states saw their requests to cancel spring tests this school year denied. Deputy Education Secretary Ian Rosenblum cited D.C. having among…

Javurek: ESSA’s Innovative Assessment Program Right in Principle, Lacking in Implementation

Abby Javurek, a vice president at prominent national nonprofit assessment provider NWEA, takes a look at ESSA’s Innovative Assessment provisions in a new piece in the 74 Million. She argues that the pilot program was on the right path in principle but was not implemented…

OK: Arts Council Urges Oklahomans to Re-Prioritize Arts Education After Pandemic

Darlene Parman, chair of the Oklahoma Arts Council, is urging students, teachers, and families to call for fully funded arts education from state lawmakers. She asserts s that arts education represents a key tool in fighting rising student mental health needs in a time of…

TN: Education Commissioner Discusses Need for Data to Inform COVID-19 Recovery Efforts

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn discussed her state’s rationale for moving forward with assessments this spring in a Q&A with the Collaborative for Student Success. Schwinn detailed why data collection, in her department’s view, is so important to guide efforts to accelerate learning amid the…

WA: Dale Chu – Will the Education Department Go for the State’s NAEP-like Assessment Plan?

Testing 1-2-3 commentator Dale Chu kicked off a new Power Rankings series on the Collaborative’s Assessment HQ platform by evaluating Washington state’s proposal to administer a sampling of its annual summative assessment this school year. Across four categories – opportunity to demonstrate learning of all…

MI: Accountability Waivers Approved, Though Chances Slim for More Wiggle Room on Testing

The Biden Education Department has approved requests from Michigan officials to pause a number of accountability measures amid the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move was in line with flexibilities offered by the department in national guidance released in February. Federal officials are still…

Brookings Fellow Says Most Improvement Lies in How Testing Data is Used

Andre Perry of the Brookings Institution lays out a compelling argument in the national debate on testing in a new piece, suggesting that the shortcomings many see with standardized tests are often rooted in how data is used, rather than with the tests themselves. Perry…

Policy Blog Series Reflects on 5 Years of ESSA

The EdNote education policy blog has launched a new series reflecting on school accountability systems. The series comes more than five years after passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which required states to design data-driven accountability plans meant to help improve school quality and…

GA: Education Officials Open Survey on Proposed Math Standards Changes

Georgia education officials have opened a public survey on proposed changes to the state’s mathematics standards. After a year-long delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Board of Education plans to vote on the proposed standards by late spring. The changes to the standards,…

KY: State Clarifies Testing Plan This Spring, Uses for Data

Kentucky officials have clarified guidance for schools and districts on the state’s plan for administering spring assessments this year and using the results to inform instruction, guide supports, and depict pandemic learning loss. Education Commissioner Jason Glass, discussing Kentucky’s assessment plan in light of updated…

NY: Board of Regents Prepares Contingency if Plans to Cancel Tests Get Rejected

After announcing plans to continue pursuing a waiver of federally required statewide assessments despite Education Department guidance saying such requests would not be approved, the New York Board of Regents has stated a contingency plan. In the event the Department rejects plans to cancel NY…