CCSSO Releases Statement on Assessment and Accountability Amid the Global Pandemic

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Washington, D.C. (December 17, 2020) Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Chief Executive Officer Carissa Moffat Miller issued the following statement today on assessment and accountability amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The global pandemic has disrupted many things across our education system, including the traditional tools we use have used for assessment and accountability. Despite these many challenges, state education chiefs are leading and remain deeply committed to knowing where students are academically and using data to inform decision-making. High-quality assessments are one crucial way to measure student learning, identify inequities, and drive the right supports for students. The reality is that exactly how states collect and report this data may need to look different this school year, depending on the impact of COVID-19 on each state’s education system.

For this reason, states must have the flexibility from federally approved accountability measures tied to statewide summative assessments in the 2020-21 school year. It is critical for state and local education leaders to continue to lead and focus on the aspects of assessment that are most important today in the midst of this pandemic: measuring the academic progress for as many students as possible; transparently reporting those results to students, families and the public; and using the data to inform decision-making. Today, states are moving forward and exploring how to administer their statewide summative assessment to as many students as possible this spring, or exploring other similar important measures. To be successful, students, families, and educators must know the results of this year’s assessment will only be used to drive supports for students.

CCSSO and the state education chiefs we represent remain committed to key core principles: measuring the progress of as many students as possible, providing aggregated and disaggregated data, and ensuring every family has access to data on how their child is performing academically. CCSSO stands ready to support every state as they strive to best meet the needs of all students, especially our marginalized student populations, and navigate the continued challenges brought on by a global pandemic. The recent guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education to help states address the lack of assessment data from the 2019-2020 school year is a step in the right direction, and CCSSO looks forward to working with the Biden administration on a streamlined, consistent process that gives states the flexibility they need on accountability measures in the coming year.”


The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.

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