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Aurora Institute

Press Release

Aurora Institute and Center for Assessment Publish New Report to Build a Vision for Balanced Systems of Assessments in a Guide for States and Districts

WASHINGTON, D.C. and DOVER, N.H.—Today, the Aurora Institute and the Center for Assessment published a report with guidance for state leaders to build better and more balanced assessment systems, with the ultimate goal of achieving equitable outcomes for all learners.

The organizations jointly released How Systems of Assessments Aligned with Competency-Based Education Can Support Equity to transform current policy and practice challenges into levers for change.

More and more states and districts are exploring how to move to competency-based education systems. If our education systems are to adequately prepare our learners for the complex challenges of tomorrow, these underlying structures and systems—of accountability, assessments, teaching, and learning—must be purposefully-designed to support new, multi-faceted definitions of success. Assessment systems play an instrumental role in supporting the development of high-quality, equitable education systems. States and districts looking to modernize education systems are asking for guidance on how to move forward in the next 5 -10 years. Balanced assessment systems, aligned with personalized competency-based learning, offer invaluable opportunities to innovate K-12 education. The report explores the barriers and levers for change.

Using the principles from the Aurora Institute equity framework, the new report maps strategies to redesign K-12’s approach to assessment in a competency-based learning context. For example, it recommends new assessment systems have:

  • A focus on deeper learning targets and transfer of knowledge
  • Timely, differentiated supports along pathways to competence
  • Variable pathways and demonstrations to document learning
  • Balanced assessment systems to support continuous learning activities and accountability

The report carves a new role for state policy leaders, such as attending to uneven levels of capacity within districts to take on this work and by piloting new approaches to assessment and accountability.

“This is a necessary paradigm shift,” said Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the Aurora Institute. “When aligned to a competency-based education approach, systems of assessments can play an important role as part of a coherent system of teaching and learning that advances equity by ensuring that all students are supported in meeting key learning and development targets.”

Download a full copy of How Systems of Assessments Aligned with Competency-Based Education Can Support Equity.

About the Aurora Institute

The Aurora Institute’s mission is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

About the Center for Assessment

The Center for Assessment strives to increase student learning through more meaningful educational assessment and accountability practices. We engage in deep partnerships with state and district education leaders to design, implement, and evaluate assessment and accountability policies and programs, and to design technically sound policy solutions to support important educational goals.


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