Byron's Babbles

Indiana Assessment Vision

IMG_0553Yesterday, we had our third legislative panel meeting studying alternatives to the ISTEP Program Test. This is part of our working toward the assessment plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for Indiana. One of the things we worked on yesterday was the vision statement of the group. Using suggestions from panel members, the panel legislative staff came up with the following draft statement:

“Indiana looks to design an assessment system that is student-centered and provides meaningful and timely information to educators and parents on both a student’s on-grade proficiency level and growth toward Indiana’s College and Career Ready standards. The assessment needs to be viable, reliable, research-based, and meet the requirements of both state and federal law, while meeting the needs of all students across Indiana.”

Now, being the vision guru I am, I immediately realized it did not meet the 35 words or less rule of thumb. I did, however, quickly underline what I thought were the most important parts of the vision statement that our panel needed to do to meet the needs of our students, families, and schools (I have underlined above). Here are the points:

  • student-centered
  • meaningful
  • timely
  • information to educators and parents
  • on-grade proficiency level and growth

I suggested we eliminate the last sentence, “The assessment needs to be viable, reliable, research-based, and meet the requirements of both state and federal law, while meeting the needs of all students across Indiana.” because I do not believe it is at all visionary to be valid, reliable, researched based and meeting the letter of the law. We have that obligation to Indiana and the federal government through ESSA. We don’t need a vision for that.

So, my proposed vision statement would be:

“Indiana looks to design an assessment system that is student-centered* and provides meaningful and timely information to educators and parents on both a student’s on-grade proficiency level and growth toward Indiana’s College and Career Ready standards.”

You will notice the * with student-centered. I believe we should have a definition for student-centered following the vision statement. For me, that definition could be:

*A Student-centered assessment system, which includes student performance, academic growth, and multiple measures, sets challenging items and tasks that are intended to encourage deep learning and create a sense of high expectations and mutual accountability.

Then, I believe it is even more important to develop a set of belief statements associated to this process. I took pieces from what individuals submitted as vision statements to make a list of possible belief statements. I really believe that many of what panel members submitted were belief statements, not vision statements. This was a good things because we should have belief statements guiding our work.

Here is the list I came up with:

  • New assessment must be implemented with fidelity
  • Timely results
  • Empowers students, parents, educators, and administrators
  • Includes college and career readiness metric
  • Meets the needs of all students
  • Cost effective
  • Accurately assesses students’ learning and growth over time
  • Takes less time away from instruction and learning
  • Equity for all students in how they take the assessment (technology/modality)

So, put all together, here’s what my draft would look like:

“Indiana looks to design an assessment system that is student-centered* and provides meaningful and timely information to educators and parents on both a student’s on-grade proficiency level and growth toward Indiana’s College and Career Ready standards.”

*A Student-centered assessment system, which includes student performance, academic growth, and multiple measures, sets challenging items and tasks that are intended to encourage deep learning and create a sense of high expectations and mutual accountability.

Indiana’s new assessment system must:

 

  • be implemented with fidelity.
  • provide timely results.
  • empower students, parents, educators, and administrators.
  • include college and career readiness metric.
  • meets the needs of all students.
  • be cost effective.
  • accurately assesses students’ learning and growth over time.
  • take less time away from instruction and learning.
  • provide equity for all students in how they take the assessment (technology/modality).

 

Because ESSA requires us to have a summative assessment in grades 3-8 and a high school component our conversation must shift from all the chatter about whether wanting to test or not or whether it is right to test. Really, that is irrelevant. What is important is that we make sure all of our stakeholders understand “why” assessment is happening and exactly how the data will be used. I believe we are on the right track to developing a vision and belief statements that can drive this work. I would love to hear feedback on additional belief statements or edits to make the belief statement suggestions better.

 

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