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Press Release

iNACOL Publishes New Policy Issue Brief on Redesigning Systems of Assessments for Student-Centered Learning

(Washington, D.C., November 8, 2017) Today, iNACOL published a new issue brief: Redesigning Systems of Assessments for Student-Centered Learning.

This issue brief explores opportunities for states under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to rethink systems of assessments, and provides recommendations for state policymakers who are ready to support student-centered teaching and learning.

The brief introduces balanced systems of assessments and assessment literacy as important concepts for long-term sustainable systems transformation to student-centered learning.

Assessment is essential for understanding what students have learned and for providing transparency and fairness when it comes to certifying mastery of knowledge and skills. Assessment can provide timely feedback to educators on where students are in their learning and to inform the supports that they need to succeed. It also plays an important role for educational leaders to evaluate the effectiveness of learning models, on achievement toward curriculum frameworks and for policymakers to understand the effectiveness of policies and use of public funding. In redesigning systems of assessments, state policymakers should consider what is needed to make assessment more meaningful and integrally linked to student learning.

Systems of assessments that align to student-centered learning are essential for the transformation to personalized, competency-based education systems that prepare all students for success. Under ESSA, states now have much more flexibility to redesign systems of assessments to better align to student-centered learning, allowing educators to focus on meeting students where they are so all can succeed.

Successful implementation of these new systems of assessments will require states to collaborate with and support local school districts and educators. States moving forward may amend their ESSA plans in the future to make room for assessments for learning — the use of formative and performance-based assessments — as well as interim and summative assessments across a state to measure and evaluate student progress. States will need to invest in building educator professional judgment and capacity for performance assessments within these new systems of assessments.

A key shift in ESSA from No Child Left Behind is allowing states to move from a single, summative, end-of-year test, to systems of assessments that may contain multiple assessment and item types. As they examine new and innovative ways of thinking about assessment, states may wish to pilot them in a subset of districts before scaling up statewide. To do this, states will need to seek the US Department of Education application for the Innovative Accountability and Assessment Demonstration Authority (also known as the Innovative Assessment Pilot), which is a new pilot program outlined in ESSA.

The intent behind this Innovative Assessment Pilot program was to provide a clear, objective and viable path forward for states to pilot new types of assessments for accountability under ESSA to support competency-based education and personalized learning.

Susan Patrick, iNACOL President and CEO, said, “ESSA presents a historic opportunity to redefine student success and to build aligned, coherent systems that advance a powerful vision of student-centered learning. As states harness this new flexibility to create next generation systems of assessments, they will empower educators to create innovative, student-centered learning environments to maximize the potential of each individual student. The Innovative Assessment Pilot in ESSA is just one tool that states can use—only if they need it—to power personalized learning.”

Learn more in the report here: Redesigning Systems of Assessments for Student-Centered Learning.


About iNACOL

The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to catalyze the transformation of K-12 education policy and practice to advance powerful, personalized, learner-centered experiences through competency-based, blended and online learning. iNACOL is a non-profit organization focusing on research, developing policy for student-centered education to ensure equity and access, developing quality standards for emerging learning models using competency-based, blended and online education, and supporting the ongoing professional development of school and district leaders for new learning models. Visit our websitelike us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter.

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