New science assessments in Massachusetts

New science assessments in Massachusetts

By Dale Chu

Just because spring testing is on hold doesn’t mean innovation in assessment has come to a halt. Last week, Massachusetts got the green light from the U.S. Department of Education to develop new science assessments for grades 5 and 8 under ESSA as part of the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority or IADA (I’ve frequently written about IADA, including here, here, and here). IADA allows states to pilot new and innovative assessments on a small scale and to develop strategies for statewide implementation over time.

As part of their approved application, Massachusetts plans on incorporating “technology-enhanced performance tasks” into their current state science tests as part of a broader statewide focus on deeper learning. The Bay State is the first state to gain IADA approval from the feds for the 2020-21 school year, joining four other states that have previously been granted IADA flexibility: Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, and New Hampshire.

Notably, the state has been a hotbed of anti-testing sentiment of late. It’s encouraging then to see some positive news on assessment coming out of New England.

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