State Testing Systems: Innovations & Improvement Opportunities
July 25, 2019

In a new report, The State of Assessment: A Look Forward on Innovation in State Testing Systems, Bellwether Education Partners discusses current options and innovations in testing. Bellwether identifies states actively working to improve testing and move beyond end-of-year reading and math exams, including a few that are making big, public reforms around innovation in assessments.

In addition to highlighting promising work already underway, the report also explores several assessment improvement opportunities within reach for all states, including: 

  • Giving interim student assessments for accountability purposes instead of waiting until the spring
  • Creating formative assessments to support instruction
  • Sharing item banks and promoting collaboration among states
  • Using social studies and science assessments in addition to reading and math

According to Bonnie O’Keefe, co-author of the report, investment in assessment is still important and valuable. 

“States should work towards a well-rounded system of assessments (not just one test) that can support accountability, equity, and transparency, and also support teachers in real and useful ways.”

Though Bellwether notes the challenges with public perception, one positive trend throughout the report is that states are responding to pushback on assessments by thinking about ways to build more comprehensive systems to provide states and schools with useful information to truly inform teaching and learning. A recent interview with one of the report’s co-authors can be found here, and a link to the full report can be found here. If you’d like to connect with Bellwether, please reach out.


Chris Nikolic

Chris is PIE Network's Associate, Research and Advancement


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