Standards and Assessments

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

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…

Missing or Inconsistent Arts Education Revealing Importance to Overall Student Achievement

Nothing in education has been untouched by the coronavirus pandemic, says a growing number of arts educators calling attention to the effects of limited or completely canceled arts classes on student achievement, morale, and wellness. Jamie Kasper, director of the Arts Education Partnership, cited over…

Association of Business Leaders Releases Education Priorities

Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies, recently issued a set of education recommendations for members of the business community, who the council says “can be part of the solution [to the opportunity gap] by investing further in programs that…

Indiana Report Cards Face Test Transition, COVID Closures

Indiana’s state school report cards will, like those of most other states navigating the cancellation of spring testing due to Covid-19, lack information typically required under ESSA. However, Indiana now faces two year’s of incomplete or missing data, as state officials had been granted protection…

Department of Ed Reminds Schools of Requirements for Students with Disabilities

Responding to growing confusion around the provision of special education services after a chaotic back-to-school season, the federal Department of Education released several Q&A-styled documents to offer guidance to states and districts still determining their plans for special education. This follows the Department’s declination to…

Parent Details How Accountability Measures Have Helped Students With Disabilities

Writer and mom to a student who happens to have Down’s Syndrome, Vicki Vila discusses how accountability measures put into place by ESSA have helped and motivated schools to ensure a proper learning environment for students who receive special education services at a greater rate…

Science and Discovery Labs Rethink Programming and School Supports

When the STEM Technology Lab at the University of New Hampshire was forced due to the spread of the coronavirus, Director Sarah Grosvenor immediately began rethinking how the lab could continue supporting science and technology programs at middle and high schools in the region, as…

Georgia DOE Tweaks Assessment Strategy for 2020-21 After Denied Waiver Request

In response to the decision by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to not grant additional testing waivers to states for the 2020-21 school year, Georgia State Superintendent Richard Woods announced how the state will rethink their approach to administering assessments in the winter and spring. Citing…

Theatre Director Highlights Renewed Need for Arts Education

According to youth theater director Shana Bestock, arts education can provide opportunities for students to develop key social and emotional learning skills and, even amid the pandemic, can still be creatively taught. Bestock shares some suggested ways to adapt theatre and music lessons in a…

DeVos to State Education Leaders: Don’t Expect Waivers For Annual Testing

After months of uncertainty, education leaders, teachers, researchers, and advocates received an answer to whether state annual assessments would resume this school year following an abrupt cancellation this past spring due to the coronavirus. In a letter to all state superintendents – not just the…

State Personalized Learning Plans Need Common Definition, More Support, Researchers Say

Two researchers at the University of Kansas have released their analysis of state “personalized learning” policies, as demonstrated by each state’s ESSA accountability plan. The authors found little consensus on conceptual frameworks or definitions for how personalized learning models ought to be utilized in schools,…

South Carolina DOE Survey Gathers Public Feedback on Assessment Waiver

After having announced their intent to request a second waiver of federally-required standardized assessments, the South Carolina Department of Education has created a survey to collect public feedback on the move. Though required by ESSA, State Superintendent Molly Spearman said “it is critical that students,…

Using Data to Strengthen Arts Education During and After Pandemic

A partnership between the Education Commission of the States and the National Endowment of the Arts resulted in a toolkit designed to help school systems, education leaders, advocates, and researchers capitalize on publicly reported state education data to improve access to quality arts education. Under…

U.S. Department of Education Seeks New Data on Pandemic’s Effect on Schools

In a recent notice, the U.S. Department of Education proposed collecting new data on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the ways in which states use federal aid and flexibility. Specifically, the department is interested in reviewing state data pertaining to federally granted waivers of…

Virginia’s School Ratings Waived for Second Year

Following the cancellation of state testing for the 2019-20 school year due to the spread of COVID-19, Virginia will waive its accreditation ratings for schools for the second year in a row. Data from the Virginia Standards of Learning tests, annually required by ESSA, typically…

Reidy Interactive Lecture Series: The Pandemic’s Impact on Assessment and Accountability

In the first completely online Reidy Interactive Lecture Series, the Center for Assessment is focusing on the “implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for assessment and accountability.” Beginning in August and continuing through September, the online series includes webinars discussing the status of summative assessments and…

Secretary DeVos Pushing for In-Person Student Learning Despite Rising Coronavirus Cases

As states continue to navigate the specifics of starting the school year amid a global pandemic, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has communicated an expectation to states, districts, and even educators that student learning will continue despite localized virus realities. In driving forward this message,…

Texas to Change Grade Level Requirements with STAAR Tests

Adding to the ongoing conversations around the use of assessments in the upcoming school year, Texas Governor Greg Abbott confirmed that the state’s standardized assessment, the STARR exam, will be administered. However, results from the tests will not be used to make decisions about a…

Top Education Official Argues Value of Assessments

In an online event for the Education Writers Association, Department of Education Assistant Secretary Jim Blew told reporters that the DOE’s “instinct” is to not grant state waivers of federal testing requirements, as established by the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015. Blew stated, “There…

Kansas Improves Their Data Reporting of Students in Foster Care

Data of students in foster care is expected to become much more transparent in the Sunflower State. Early this month, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued an executive order that established “an annual education report card for students in foster care.” The report card will track…

New Analysis Suggests That Districts Should Be Held Accountable For Student Learning Too

Chad Aldeman of Bellwether Education Partners and Anne Hyslop of the Alliance for Excellent Education ask questions about the focus of accountability measures during and after the COVID-10 pandemic. If districts were, in most places, the entities setting up food distributions, purchasing Chromebooks, making decisions…

Indiana State Board of Education Seeks to Improve Literacy

The State Board of Education approved the optional use of the Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination (IREAD-3) for 4th-grade students for the upcoming fall 2020 term. The goal of the IREAD-3 is to help local education officials make data-driven decisions surrounding the literacy of their…