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New Resources Aim to Guide States Interested in Pilot Program to Improve Assessments Under ESSA

New Resources Aim to Guide States Interested in Pilot Program to Develop Better Assessments Under ESSA

Seven initial states will soon enough be partaking in the “Innovative Assessment" pilot program created by the Every Student Succeeds Act to best determine how to create effective ways to assess the country’s students.

Rather than outwardly define what a next generation assessment should look like for all states to adhere to, the architects of the new education legislation acknowledged they aren’t yet sure what that looks like. For that reason, they decided to create a pilot program to help states figure out what assessments work best. States that participate in the program will receive flexibility from federal assessment requirements, although they will not receive any additional federal funding.

Once the seven states are selected through an application process that is likely to happen under the next Education Secretary, each will have five years to develop its system and bring the whole system statewide.

In order to help states that are interested in applying to the pilot program, Knowledge Works in partnership with the Center for Assessment and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation has created “The Readiness Roadmap,” a series of resources dedicated to helping "states identify and explore a set of readiness conditions that are critical to the development of a high quality application and implementation process under” new ESSA provisions.

Knowledge Works will be releasing a series of seven briefs that cover a variety of topics specified to help states work through the process of developing better assessments as potential applicants of the pilot program.

The seven briefs are as follows:

  • Project Narrative: Creating a State Vision to Support the Design and Implementation of an Innovative Assessment and Accountability System
  • Ensuring and Evaluating Assessment Quality
  • Addressing Accountability Issues Including Comparability
  • Supporting Educators and Students
  • Evaluating and Continuously Improving the Assessment System
  • Establishing a Timeline and Budget for Design and Implementation
  • Building Capacity and Stakeholder Support

As of right now, Knowledge Works has only released the first three briefs in the series. The rest will be released shortly, the site says.

For those still unsure of how the federal government has envisioned the pilot program to pan out, the first brief in the series is a great resource for laying out exactly how the program is defined.

The brief explains the program’s timeline from whenever the application process begins as well as what assessment flexibilities participating states can expect to enjoy and what requirements they will still have to adhere to.

The resource also includes a “decision tree” that helps state officials decide if their state should pursue the pilot program based on their goals and visions for state assessments going forward.

Check out The Readiness Roadmap here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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