Assessments are critical in a highly effective education system because they measure students’ progress toward mastering academic standards. Assessment results provide important information about the extent to which students and schools are meeting standards and where they need to improve.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) supports states in implementing high-quality assessments that foster deeper learning among students. ESSA provides some assessment flexibility, allowing states to develop assessments delivered, in part, in the form of projects, portfolios, and extended-performance tasks. ESSA also includes an innovative assessment pilot that allows up to seven states (and a consortium not to exceed four states) to use competency- or performance-based assessments for accountability purposes. These types of assessments measure how well students can apply or use what they know, often in real-world situations, and allow students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have learned.
With this broadened state flexibility, the assessment landscape will continue to change rapidly. States are developing and adopting new assessments that seek to measure students’ higher-order thinking skills and their understanding and application of concepts. Increasingly, states are administering assessments on computers to take advantage of new technologies that measure students’ abilities in ways not possible with paper-and-pencil tests.
Recognizing that no single test can fulfill all the needs for information by all stakeholders, this report suggests the need for a comprehensive system of assessments that needs to be coherent and cohesive and aligned to standards for college and career readiness.
Related Resources:Article, April 08, 2013 Report/Fact Sheet, January 22, 2013 Article, January 14, 2013