The future of assessments

The future of assessments

By Dale Chu

Back in March, I kicked off a series of blog posts coinciding with the refresh of the Assessment HQ website (links to the first six installments below). I looked back on state testing during the last couple of years and lamented the lack of leadership and conviction vis-à-vis state assessment systems. I called out encouraging examples like Mississippi’s third-grade reading results, which underscore the importance of having reliable and valid data as part of the long and arduous process of education recovery. Parents understand the importance of having this information and will likely play a significant part in helping to shape the future of state assessments.

In bringing this series in for a landing, the future of assessments is where I’d like to turn your attention. What’s become increasingly clear over the last few years is the broad dissatisfaction with today’s standardized testing regime. Directionally, the problems with state testing stem from the fact that summative exams were likely oversold from the outset. No single measurement tool can adequately meet the varied needs of parents, teachers, and policymakers alike. It’s a realization that comes with the benefit of hindsight, but it’s also an outcome that might have been unavoidable. So where do assessments go from here?

This blog has a lot in store on the question. From a legal standpoint, there’s some time to figure things out because the federal education law, ESSA, doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. From a policy standpoint, providing support for local innovation, perhaps branching out beyond reading and math, could be worth doing. Technology will feature prominently in making tests less intrusive and more useful (e.g., adaptability), while ensuring that state summative assessments remain a high-quality data source. This series may be coming to an end, but an examination in these pages of what the next generation of assessments could and should entail has only just begun!


Click to read earlier entries from this series:

  1. Where’s the (assessment) data?
  2. Comprehensive or convoluted? Testing in 2021 painted a cloudy picture
  3. Are annual assessments old hat?
  4. Who will lead on assessment innovation?
  5. Kiss my assessment
  6. Parents are back in backing state testing
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