Standards and Assessments

Rigorous and clearly communicated standards are crucial in helping all students meet their academic goals. The NWCC provides technical assistance to help Northwest states’ support their districts and schools in implementing rigorous college- and career-ready standards and aligned high-quality assessments.

The following resources related to this priority area have been compiled by NWCC staff.

The Center on Standards & Assessment Implementation (CSAI)

CSAI provides state education agencies (SEAs) and Regional Comprehensive Centers (RCCs) with research support, technical assistance, tools, and other resources to help inform decisions about standards, assessment, and accountability.

Assessing Mathematical Understanding

Assessing Mathematical Understanding is a set of mathematics assessments for kindergarten and first-grade students that provides both cumulative data about students’ progress over time and in-depth diagnostic information. Aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, it is intended as a tool to help teachers track student progress, identify particular difficulties, and generally inform instructional planning.

English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century ( ELPA21)

ELPA21 is a group of states that designed and developed an assessment system for English language learners. The system is based on the English Language Proficiency Standards and addresses the language demands needed to reach college and career readiness.

Next Generation Science Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are K–12 science content standards. Standards set the expectations for what students should know and be able to do. The NGSS were developed by states to improve science education for all students.

Resources for Evaluating Assessment Systems

How many tests do students take? Is an overabundance of testing causing teachers and students to lose valuable instructional time? What are states and districts doing to get a better handle on test quantity and quality? This collection includes resources to help states, districts, and schools shrink the number of tests while still meeting important purposes.

States’ Content Standards Revision Processes: What are States’ Processes for Revising Their Content Standards?

The Center on Standards & Assessment Implementation (CSAI) released a report based on questions CSAI has received regarding how states undergo the process of revising content standards. Based on information found on states' department of education and board of education websites, this report compiles processes and protocols states have used for revising their content standards, including the different stakeholders involved in these processes. Prior to publication, compiled information was sent to staff members at each state's department of education to check for accuracy; state edits are reflected in this report.

Using Interim Assessments in Place of Summative Assessments?: Consideration of an ESSA Option

Replacing summative assessment with interim assessment is, for many, a seemingly attractive proposition. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) allows for such replacement, stating that state's accountability assessments may "be administered through multiple statewide interim assessments" to provide "valid, reliable, and transparent information on student achievement or growth" (ESSA, §1111(b)(2)(B)(viii)).

The implication of this provision is that the single summative score is to be used as the indicator of academic achievement within the state's accountability system (i.e., "academic achievement, as measured by proficiency on the annual assessments" (ESSA, §1111(b)(2)(B)(v)(I))). The single summative score and the system of interim assessments that produce it will therefore need to address the same standards of quality that are addressed by traditional programs of statewide summative assessment. Instead of one single statewide summative assessment, a system of multiple interim assessments, collectively, will need to produce a score that is "valid, reliable and transparent" (ibid).

Developing and implementing these kinds of systems of interim assessments represent uncharted territory. The purpose of this document is to consider some critical questions involved in the initial design and implementation of such a system.

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