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Several States to Take Part in Pilot Program to Develop ‘Next Generation’ of Testing

Several States to Take Part in Pilot Program to Develop ‘Next Generation’ of Testing

In a follow-up to President Obama’s Testing Action Plan announced last October, the Department of Education released more details about its intention to oversee the reduction of ineffective assessments in the country’s schools.

In October, the Obama administration’s Test Action Plan defined seven principles that support fewer and smarter assessments in schools, including being high quality, time limited, fair, and transparent to both students and parents. Yesterday’s recommendations follow-up on these principles using the guidelines of the soon-to-be-in-effect Every Student Succeeds Act.

Through the release, the Department is encouraging state and local leaders to use the legislation to find the best ways to assess student progress with the goal of eliminating unnecessary tests.

The Department announced two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to “implement provisions of Title I of ESSA that seek to ensure states administer high-quality assessments that are worth taking and provide meaningful data about student success and equity, while also encouraging states and districts to continue to push the field of assessment forward through innovation.”

In the second NPRM, the department announced that it will be selecting up to seven states to participate in a pilot program that will develop the “next generation” of high quality statewide assessments.

Being referred to as “demonstration states,” they will develop new accountability systems to be first tested in several districts and then use lessons learned to implement "a new statewide assessment system over 5 years-one that is high-quality, fair, and worth taking.”

In the Department’s first NPRM, it focused on reminding state and local leaders the importance of ensuring that accountability systems are fair for all students, included disabled students and English Language Learners while holding students to high standards.

The Department also recommended in the release the continued use of technology to improve assessments.

"The regulations clarify that states may develop computer- adaptive tests, which could provide a more precise estimate of a students’ ability with fewer questions than a traditional test,” the Department said.

Read the full release here.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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