FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2018
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Members John Wikk

John Wikk

iSixSigma Membership


John Wikk


Good Assessment Key to Strong Accountability


and growth with sufficient comparability despite the fact that students took none of the same assessments.
Here’s my main concern: we try to use cheap year end tests to do too many jobs and I’m afraid some states will just move them online (at least they will be cheaper and faster).
Strong accountability must be supported by good assessment. A month ago in a blog about Authorizing High Performance I stated that:
Good measures, clear targets, transparent results, and strong authorizing are all key to improving educational outcomes. Effective authorizing is the quality lynchpin to the Digital Learning Now framework which suggests that “States should hold schools and online providers accountable using student learning to evaluate the quality of content or instruction. Providers and programs that are poor performing should have their contracts terminated.”
Teachers and students will benefit from the shift to personal digital learning–they will receive more instant feedback to guide teaching and learning. Students will make more frequent contributions to their electronic gradebook and portfolio. System heads and policy makers will eventually be able to make some judgments based in part on this body of evidence (using soon to be invented comparability strategies).
For the foreseeable future, system heads and states will need to use summative assessments to ensure that schools and programs are producing sufficient gains in and adequate levels of student learning. For accountability purposes, as other sources of achievement data are added and new comparability strategies are developed it will be possible to shift some summative assessment to a NAEP like sampling strategies. Incorporating adaptive strategies into summative assessments can also reduce the number of questions required.
The Hewlett Foundation, in conjunction with the state testing consortia–PARCC and SBAC–is sponsoring a demonstration of automated scoring of essays and constructed response activities. The project seeks to identify gaps between current intelligent scoring capabilities and what is required by the Common Core and to accelerate innovation to close those gaps. Better, faster, cheaper scoring of essays and constructed response will promote better summative assessments. Many students will soon benefit from receiving daily writing feedback from the same scoring engines.
The shift from age cohorts to competency-based learning with rolling year-round enrollments makes the notion of a year end exam less relevant. As a director of iNACOL, I appreciate Susan Patrick’s leadership on competency-based learning. Several of her recent reports on this topic are listed below. In a competency-based system, students progress when they have demonstrated that they have meet learning expectations. That means that gateway assessments must be made available on demand or on a frequently scheduled basis. This creates two choice for policy makers: 1) create exams to manage matriculation and a separate dipstick
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