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Assessment: Are assessments that rely heavily on teacher judgment reliable? - Access related research titles from the ECS Research Studies Database. Links embedded in titles will take you to each study's major findings and recommendations....

Testing the Importance of Individual Growth Curves in Predicting Performance on a High-Stakes Reading Comprehension Test in Florida - To understand why individual students differ on an outcome based on performance on an assessment, this study examined the relations among descriptive measures of growth (simple difference and average difference) and inferential measures. All four growth estimates significantly contributed to the prediction of performance when controlling for several factors, but only the simple difference score was a good predictor when controlling for interim (winter) status. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, REL Southeast, January 2014)...

Standardized Testing and the Common Core Standards: You Get What You Pay For? - Tackling the questions of standardized test cost and quality, this report concludes the departure of a few states from testing consortia will have minimum impact on per-pupil cost. For example, the departure of Florida, second-largest member of PARCC, would only mean a per-pupil price increase of 60 cents for remaining states. If all states which are having a debate over the Common Core drop out, costs would still increase by no more than $2 or $3. The author cautions that test quality is crucial: used for high-stakes decisions, they could determine which school to close, which student to hold back, which teacher to fire. He synthesizes test quality into a set of design principles that should support and drive instruction, encourages states to form consortia and Congress to designate $30-$40 for per-pupil testing when it reauthorizes the NCLB. (Matthew M. Chingos, Brown Center on Education Policy at Brooking, October 2013)...

Teacher Learning Through Assessment: How Student-Performance Assessments Can Support Teacher Learning - Teacher involvement in the design, use and scoring of assessments can link instruction, assessment, student learning, and professional development. If assessment results are recent, teachers can increase their knowledge of individual students, better understand their students' capacities and learn how to support student advancement. (Linda Darling-Hammond and Beverly Falk, Center for American Progress, September 2013)...

States Prepare for Common Core Assessments: Year 3 of Implementing the Common Core - Most states have taken steps to start assessing students' Common Core State Standards (CCSS) knowledge or will do so before the assessments developed by the two consortia, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium are ready in school year 2014-15, according to a recent survey. Forty states responded to the survey. Half have begun to prepare teachers to use assessment results and half are working with schools and districts to plan for extra assistance for students who need help passing CCSS exams. Only eight are considering suspending consequences for schools or individuals based on CCSS performance. (Diane Stark Rentner, Center on Education Policy, August 2013) (Diane Stark Rentner, Center on Education Policy, August 2013)...

TASK: Teacher Analysis of Student Knowledge: A Measure of Learning Trajectory-Oriented Formative Assessment - A must-read per ECS staff: If teachers cannot effectively analyze students' thinking, it is not likely that they will formulate effective instructional responses. Researchers at CPRE developed an innovative new instrument to authentically measure teachers’ formative assessment practices in mathematics. The Teacher Analysis of Student Knowledge (TASK) is a grade-specific, online assessment which measures important components of instructional knowledge. The takeaways gleaned from use of the tool provide insight into the current state of teachers’ capabilities in helping kids learn. For instance, in grades K-2, nearly half of teacher responses focused on procedures for solving addition or subtraction problems rather than underlying concepts. Across all grade levels, the vast majority of teacher responses were procedural, focusing on what the student did to solve the problem rather than commenting on the student’s underlying conceptual understanding. This work — and its emphasis on evaluating students’ conceptual understanding — could begin to help improve how we better prepare teachers, provide professional development, and evaluate teacher effectiveness.(Jonathan Supovitz, Caroline B. Ebby and Philip Sirinides, CPRE, June 2013)...

K-12 Education: States' Test Security Policies and Procedures Varied - A briefing for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reveals that 40 states detected potential cheating during the past two school years and 33 confirmed at least one instance of cheating. Thirty-two states reported canceling, invalidating, or nullifying test scores from individual students, schools or districts because of suspected or confirmed instances of cheating by school officials. Also, 22 states reported they had all leading practices for security training in place, but four had none. (GAO, May 2013)...

Getting to Higher-Quality Assessments: Evaluating Costs, Benefits, and Investment Strategies - To compare the cost of assessments under No Child Left Behind with new assessments in the era of Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the Assessments Solutions Group researched various states' current spending on summative, interim, and formative assessments. They conclude the CCSS assessments will be higher quality, and "readily affordable." (Barry Topol, John Olson and Ed Roeber, SCOPE, March 2013)...

Developing Assessments of Deeper Learning: The Costs and Benefits of Using Tests that Help Students Learn - With Common Core State Standards comes a demand for higher-order thinking skills and a second demand for assessments that measure those skills. Two consortia - the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)- have been working on those advanced assessments and the authors recommend drawing on their work. But how to pay for these advanced tests and their scoring? States now spend, on average, $50 per pupil for statewide, interim and benchmark tests which still total less than 1% of per pupil spending. That would just about do it if state consortia took advantage of economies of scale, and teachers and computers scored open-ended tasks, which, the authors say, would have the double advantage of resulting in improved instruction. (Linda Darling-Hammond and Frank Adamson, Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, March 15, 2013)...

The State of Proficiency: How Student Proficiency Rates Vary Across States, Subjects and Grades Between 2002 and 2010 - The purpose of this study is to shine some light on the limitations of using proficiency rates based on inconsistent and arbitrary "passing scores" to make judgments about educational effectiveness. (Sarah Durant, Michael Dahlin, Deborah Adkins and G. Gage Kingsbury, Kingbury Center at Northwest Evaluation Association, June 2011)...

The Road Ahead for State Assessments - A blueprint for strengthening assessment policy, pointing out how new technologies are opening up new possibilities for fairer, more accurate evaluations of what students know and are able to do. Not all of the promises can yet be delivered, but the report provides a clear set of assessment-policy recommendations. (Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy, May 2011) ...

Learning About Assessment: An Evaluation of a Ten-State Effort to Build Assessment Capacity in High Schools - In 2006, Delaware and the Council of Chief State School Officers partnered with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education to conduct an evaluation of a 10-state initiative that sought to enhance assessment practices at the high school level. (Consortium for Policy Research in Education, February 2009)...

Measuring Skills for the 21st Century - Best learning occurs when basic skills are taught in combination with complex thinking skills, for example, the ability to think creatively and to evaluate and analyze information. Assessment should measure both without adding to the number of tests students must take. This report debunks the notion that such 21st century skills as creative thinking and analysis cannot be reliably, inexpensively and fairly measured, offering examples of tests already devised and predicting more are on the way. (Elena Silva, Education Sector, November 2008)...


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