Visioning toolkit highlights new assessment possibilities under ESSA

State leaders turn to new toolkit and InnovativeAssessments.org for guidance
Washington, D.C.

States are engaging with stakeholders to explore a range of new assessment opportunities under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As they consider next steps, some education stakeholders, including state leaders, are turning to www.innovativeassessments.org for guidance.

“As these resources show, states now have greater flexibility to design systems of assessment that meaningfully measure progress against outcomes that matter for the success of all kids,” said Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Today, KnowledgeWorks and the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment (Center for Assessment) add another resource to the site, a Visioning Toolkit for Better Assessments. The toolkit will help stakeholders explore new assessment provisions under ESSA and deepen their understanding of assessment models that are possible under the law.

“States have a significant opportunity before them to redesign student-centered education systems that stakeholders find useful and relevant,” KnowledgeWorks Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Matt Williams said. “Our new toolkit will help states and other stakeholders deepen conversations about what is now possible under ESSA so they can identify the best path forward for innovative assessment design.”

The toolkit includes:

·        An infographic that provides a visual overview of four critical opportunities available to states under ESSA for building next-generation assessment systems.

·        FAQs to answer the most common questions regarding general assessment requirements for ESSA’s sections 1111(b)(2) and 1204.

·        An overview of the state policy conditions that support innovative assessment systems.

·        15 possible state assessment models that states could build under the Innovative Assessment and Accountability Demonstration Authority.

·        A Theory of Action to guide the design and evaluation of State innovative assessment and accountability systems, and to help states connect system components to intended goals.

·        An interactive, digital Innovative Assessment Survey Tool to guide states to possible assessment models based on local criteria. 

“We intend for this toolkit to build off the lessons we’ve learned in many settings as we support states that are wrestling with the challenges of first deciding and then hopefully submitting an application for the innovative assessment and accountability pilot,” said Scott Marion, Executive Director of the Center for Assessment. “Rather than proposing a particular model, this toolkit is designed to help states work within their specific contexts and constraints and move to more innovative assessment approaches for maximizing student learning.”

InnovativeAssessments.org, which was launched in July, is a collaborative project between KnowledgeWorks and the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment (Center for Assessment). The project will help states explore the range of assessment opportunities in ESSA, providing important tools to guide them through the exploratory, planning, design and implementation stages of this opportunity. It is supported by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

So far, www.innovativeassessment.org includes the new visioning toolkit and four briefs that dive into the State Readiness Conditions critical to a successful application under the Innovative Assessment and Accountability Demonstration Authority ESSA. KnowledgeWorks and the Center for Assessment will continue to post additional resources through the end of the year to support states as they redesign their state assessment systems.

For more information, contact Mary Kenkel at kenkelm@knowledgeworks.org

About KnowledgeWorks 

KnowledgeWorks is focused on ensuring that every student experiences meaningful personalized learning that allows them to thrive in college, career and civic life. We develop the capabilities of educators to implement and sustain competency-based and early college schools, work with state and federal leaders to establish aligned policy conditions and provide national thought leadership around the future of learning. Our subsidiary, StriveTogether, manages the national cradle-to-career  network and helps communities improve student outcomes through collective impact. Learn more at www.knowledgeworks.org. 


About The Center for Assessment

The National Center for the Improvement of Education Assessment, Inc. (Center for Assessment, is a Dover, N.H.-based not-for-profit (501(c)(3)) corporation that seeks to improve the educational achievement of students by promoting enhanced practices in educational assessment and accountability. The Center for Assessment does this by providing services directly to states, school districts, and other organizations regarding the design, implementation, and evaluation of assessment and accountability systems. As a non-profit organization committed to the improvement of student learning, the Center for Assessment maintains a strong "open-source" ethic in terms of distributing its many creations and inventions. For example, the Center has developed many tools related to alignment methodology, student growth analyses, student learning objectives, comparability methods for innovative assessment systems, and validity evaluation that it provides freely to its clients and other non-commercial entities. 

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