Our Approach

Assessments should support student outcomes, inform instruction, foster meaningful learning experiences and ensure student success in higher education or whatever pathway they choose. Education First’s approach combines human-centered design with an equity lens to redesign assessments. For example, through our work with the Innovative Assessment and New Measures Grant Program, an initiative supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation, our coaching and facilitation helped state education agency and charter school leaders reimagine traditional means for assessment and design solutions alongside assessment experts and people most proximate to the problem (e.g., students, educators and families).

From California to Florida, we have supported efforts across the country. Our equitable design framework, informed by Christine Ortiz’s methodology1, centers on people—particularly those from historically marginalized communities—to help decision-makers better understand and tailor assessment redesign solutions to match the unique context of their community. Assessment redesign with a focus on equity includes equitable design principles and practices, such as:

  • Starting with self to explore individual identifies, bias and power dynamics within a team
  • Exploring the user experience of people in their states and communities via empathy interviews and survey research
  • Identifying and redefining problems in assessment from the end-user perspective
  • Examining root cause analysis for identified problems and constraints
  • Co-creating ideas for promising practices and new solutions alongside assessment experts and people most proximate to the problem
  • Testing prototypes of selected practices and solutions to implement and scale system-wide

Equitable Design Principles and Practices

Our coaching and technical assistance support decision-makers, stakeholders and expert advisors to learn new approaches to state assessment redesign. Learn more about our work and success.

Ortiz Guzman, Christine M., Just Design, The equityXdesign Book.