Innovations in Assessment

High-quality assessments are essential tools for improving educational outcomes

Graphic of students in classroom being taught by an educator

High-quality assessments of student learning that address students’ and educators’ unique needs are essential tools for improving educational outcomes and comparing school and system performance in service of equity.

Following the pandemic’s vast disruptions in annual assessments and collection of student learning data, the call to capture multiple aspects of student outcomes, achievement and needs became even more significant. Assessments—re-imagined to meet the unique needs of end-users—can provide meaningful data that informs instruction and motivates students to invest in their learning. Our technical assistance has supported assessment leaders and stakeholders to develop assessment solutions that aim to impact students furthest from opportunity, educators’ instructional practices and the communities in which they thrive.

At Education First, we use the principles of equitable design, based on the framework and tools developed by Christine Ortiz from Equity Meets Design, to place people at the heart of the design process. Our collaborative approach with system leaders, educators and students has supported a range of innovations, including computer-adaptive assessments that deepen student learning, measures for comprehensive graduate portfolios, designs for through-year assessments and more. Here are some reflections from leaders that have engaged in this work:

State education agencies (SEAs), charter management organizations (CMOs) and practitioners need to ensure access to assessments that meet the demands of a diverse student population and the adults who support them. Assessments are pivotal for addressing and accelerating student outcomes. Are you ready to design innovative student assessments? Innovate with us—click here to learn more about our approach and impact, or contact us for support.

What’s next? Action steps to help you benefit from our expertise:

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