Through-Year Assessment Toolkit

A Toolkit for State Education Leaders

Preparing for a Transition to a Through-Year Assessment System: Toolkit for State Leaders

couple in assessment

How should states determine if a through-year summative assessment system is the right fit for their state and navigate the transition?

The process of transforming a state assessment system requires coherent and strategic approach to planning and implementation. For many state leaders, this includes identifying the right design choices for their own context, engaging and building buy-in among key stakeholders, effectively communicating and having strong plans in place.

Education First partnered with state leaders, assessment developers and partner organizations to develop a toolkit for state leaders who are exploring, developing or implementing through-year models. This toolkit is intended to support states leaders identify the enabling conditions that must be in place to pursue a through-year assessment system and provide a set of key steps to explore as they embark on the planning process.

As of Spring 2023, no state has fully scaled a through-year assessment model for summative use. There are many technical considerations and challenges state leaders, their partners and vendors must navigate and explore as they pursue a through-year design and transition. And, we are optimistic that through-year models have the potential to better connect what is tested to what is taught, could provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction, and, if implemented with fidelity, could support leaders at the local, state and federal levels in understanding student progress and achievement consistent with statutory requirements.

We know this process is not linear and we are encouraged by the leadership of states who are willing to research, test and pilot through-year assessments to provide the field with proof points and information about the feasibility and viability of the model. We hope this toolkit can provide practical and specific actions states can take as they navigate the transition to a through-year system.

These tools were created in partnership with state leaders, assessment developers and partner organizations who are working to support the development and implementation of through-year models.

Mapping your through-year transition

So you want to transform your assessment system?

Transition to a through-year system discussion guide


Do I have the enabling conditions in place for through-year assessments?

Enabling conditions self assessment


Who are the key stakeholders in my state who must be engaged?

Stakeholder mapping tool


How do I get on the same page with my SEA cabinet?

State education agency
cabinet facilitation guide


What does my state legislature need to know?

State policy maker discussion guide


How do I build buy-in among and engage my districts?

Engaging leaders in your districts guide


How do I engage teachers, students and families?

Stakeholder engagement protocols


What inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes should we be working towards?

Sample logic model and template


What are the specific steps to help me monitor progress towards my goals?

Sample implementation
plan and enhanced
task list


Download the full toolkit

Toolkit for state leaders


Looking for additional resources?

Visit the Through-Year Curriculum Connected microsite for additional resources and publications from the Ed First team and our partners and connect with our team.