The Road Ahead for State Assessments
The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy and Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) have jointly produced a report that offers policy guidance for a new generation of state assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The report, The Road Ahead for State Assessments, aims to inform the work of the two U.S. Department of Education-funded consortia charged with developing a new generation of state assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards: the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers Consortium (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). The adoption of the Common Core State Standards presents states across the nation with an unprecedented opportunity to enhance the educational opportunities they provide students. States that have adopted the Common Core State Standards are now in the early stages of revising curriculum frameworks, adopting new instructional materials, developing new systems of assessment, and providing professional development for teachers to prepare them to deliver instruction aligned to the new standards. This process has the potential to fundamentally transform public education for the majority of U.S. students. It is therefore essential that policymakers and education leaders take full account of the issues and challenges that lie ahead as early as possible in the implementation process. This report includes three papers that address critical “next generation” issues in assessment policy that can help guide the choices made about system design: computer adaptive assessments, assessment of English learners and assessing science. These three papers describe some of the critical attributes of a fairer and more accurate assessment system. The common conclusion in all three papers is that assessment policy will have to take full advantage of new technologies to provide useful and timely information to students and teachers about the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning. The authors’ provide a vision of new assessments that goes beyond the horizon of current practice.