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2018 Assessment Resource Roundup

2018 Assessment Resource Roundup

The end of the calendar year presents a natural time to reflect on resources that we’ve found to be interesting, informative, or thought provoking. This blog provides a list—in no particular order—of five websites related to K–12 assessment that caught our interest in 2018. We hope you will find these links helpful, and Happy New Year!

The Center for Assessment. The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, widely known as the Center for Assessment, recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. Their blog, “CenterLine,” provides helpful information on a broad range of assessment-related topics from statewide accountability to how teachers use assessment data to improve instruction.

Retrieval Practice. “Retrieval practice” is a learning strategy that can involve quizzing or low-stakes assessment as a way to recall information. There are many examples of blogs devoted to retrieval practice and how it relates to classroom assessment. We’ve chosen to highlight the following post by Aidan Severs because it provides concrete tips for teachers as well as links to resources explaining the cognitive science behind retrieval practice. Although this particular post highlights non-quiz tips for teachers, it includes plenty of useful information related to classroom assessment.

Polls on the Use of Educational Data. The Data Quality Campaign released the results from two polls about the use of educational data—one poll of parents and one of teachers. Complete with infographics, this post summarizes the findings of both polls. While many parents value educational data, teachers report that they don’t have enough time in their school days to make effective use of data.

Using Test Data to Devise Instructional Plans. Speaking of teachers using assessment data, Brian Bushart, the Curriculum Coordinator for Elementary Mathematics in Round Rock ISD (TX), wrote a blog post with an excellent example of using test data to devise instructional plans. He argues that reviewing items and student responses will yield “…a truer picture of what’s challenging your students so that you can more accurately target with what and how to support them.”

Including Teachers in Item Writing. Teacher Development published an open-access article on making large-scale assessment more relevant to educational practice by making it a part of teacher professional development. Despite the usual limitations of self-reported data and selection bias, authors Corey Palermo and Margareta Maria Thomson provide some evidence that involving teachers in item writing and review can be part of an effective professional development program.

Local Assessment Administration Methods: Where does Your School District Fit In?

Local Assessment Administration Methods: Where does Your School District Fit In?

In preparation for the 2018 California Educational Research Association (CERA) annual meeting,
Educational Data Systems developed and administered a brief survey of local assessment administration practices in California public school districts. The conference theme was “Readiness Across the Ages: Sharing Ideas, Connecting Systems, and Creating Solutions.”

We wanted to investigate the theme of “readiness” with respect to local assessment. At a minimum, we think readiness in educational assessment means that schools, teachers, and students will be ready

  • for assessments to provide valid measures of what students know and can do;
  • for online, computer-based statewide assessments; and
  • for using assessment data to improve classroom learning and instruction.

In practical terms, how ready are students for any type of assessment format? How ready are district educators to prepare students for statewide assessments and to use local assessments to inform classroom instruction? To begin forming answers to these questions, we developed a short survey.

We sent an email survey invitation to 860 California educational assessment professionals who have made their way onto our email list in the past year. The survey consisted of only three main questions: the first regarding types of local assessments that are administered with paper-and-pencil (P&P); the second about types of local assessments given in a computer-based or online testing (CBT) format; and the third concerning plans to change assessment administration methods in the future.

Our survey received 102 responses, and we used the answers to inform our conference presentation, Ready for Any Format: Use Online and Paper Assessments Effectively and Efficiently. The topic drew an engaged audience of CERA conference participants to our session. Although the survey results should not be taken as scientific evidence of broad trends, for our respondents:

  • Benchmark and interim assessments were the most common types of local assessments
  • Most districts use both P&P and CBT administration methods for local assessments
  • About 60 percent reported no plans to change local assessment administration methods
  • Almost 40 percent reported that they plan to change at least some assessments from P&P to CBT
  • Practice for online statewide assessment was the most common reason given for switching from P&P to CBT

If you are wondering how local assessment practices in your district compare to those of our respondents, or if you would like to see more details of our survey and the results, you may access the presentation here.

Join Us at the California Educational Research Association (CERA) Conference

We are pleased to announce that Educational Data Systems will be participating at this year’s California Educational Research Association’s conference. Educational Data Systems has a long, rich history of contributing to CERA. This year’s conference will be held on November 12-14 at the Disneyland Hotel and the theme is “Readiness at All Ages.”
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The Lifecycle of an Assessment Program

We’re excited to share this article written by our President & CEO, Caroline Fahmy, about The Life Cycle of an Assessment Program. It was featured in the June issue of CALSA’s newsletter! CALSA is the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators.

In the article, Caroline shares some valuable tips for creating and maintaining a statewide assessment, based on our work with the California English Language Development Test (CELDT). CELDT is being replaced as the standardized test of English language proficiency in California.