High-Quality Assessment Systems
Improving learning for every child: High-quality assessments provide an academic checkup so students, parents, and educators understand how each child is progressing toward goals.
As states implement college and career-ready standards, they also administer assessments designed to better measure if students are on track to college and career readiness. CCSSO works with educators and policymakers as they transition to new assessments to improve teaching and student learning. In 2013, CCSSO and the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) jointly released Commitments on High-Quality Assessments which is a set of principles to guide state and district leaders in making sure every assessment administered is high-quality, coherent, and meaningful to students, parents, and teachers. Then in March 2014, to assist states as they design high-quality assessments, we released Criteria for Procuring and Evaluation High-Quality Assessments.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Assessments
Assessments should be high quality, part of a coherent system, and meaningful.
Standards and assessments are the foundation for the accountability system. While the assessment elements in ESSA are somewhat more discrete than some other parts of the law, the transition to ESSA presents state leaders with an opportunity to evaluate their comprehensive assessment system and to contemplate how information from that system helps the state to achieve its overall vision.
Assessment directly impacts teaching and learning and is a central component of learner-centered education systems.
CCSSO works with states in a variety of different ways to innovate how to measure learning through systems of assessment that elevate formative assessment practices and incorporate performance assessments that are embedded in instructional practices. These assessments provide timely information to educators about student proficiency on standards and deeper learning skills such as critical-thinking and communications.
Engage More Deeply: Equitable Implementation of Assessments
Implementing a high-quality assessment system is a core state responsibility with profound implications for equity.
All students, including English Learners (ELs) and Students with Disabilities (SWDs), benefit from well-designed assessments that measure their learning and ability and identify their strengths and weaknesses. High-quality assessments provide reliable and valid data to inform all users and stakeholders, including teachers and parents, about how well students have learned and what further instruction is needed. They are also key indicators in state accountability systems that hold all school leaders accountable for equity through transparent reporting.