It is a tool district leaders can use to take stock of their assessments and assessment strategy, and do so from a student perspective. It supports a process by which districts evaluate the assessments students are taking and determine the minimum testing necessary to serve essential diagnostic, instructional and accountability purposes. Taking stock and then taking action requires significant district commitment. The inventory tool is only one element of a thoughtful longer process that both engages productively with concerns about testing and leads to real changes in testing time. The inventory tool is a suggested template, but districts are free to modify the tool to better meet their needs. The inventory is not a one-time event. Districts should regularly re-examine their assessments in light of changing district needs and improvements in available assessments. What is the Student Assessment Inventory for School Districts? 3
Achieve has long recommended that districts take stock of the tests students are required to take. Now, educators, parents, and students across the country have expressed concerns about the amount of time that testing is taking away from teaching and learning. The assessment inventory is designed to spur action. Why is it needed and what is it designed to do? 4
How was the Assessment Inventory developed? 5 Achieve has developed the assessment inventory to support a voluntary, district-led process: Achieve developed an initial draft of the inventory tool and shared with a broad network of state and district leaders and experts for feedback. In partnership with the Connecticut State Department of Education, Achieve piloted a revised version of the tool with a group of eight districts across Connecticut. Achieve finalized the tool based on feedback from these districts.
Reflect and plan Conduct the inventory Analyze the inventory Make recommendations The process includes four major stages 7
Reflect and Plan 8 A set of guiding questions that districts use to initiate the planning process. What is the district context in which the inventory is being considered? What are the objectives of the student assessment inventory? Who will collect the information needed for the inventory table? How will they access that information? What is the scope of the inventory? Which assessments should be included and excluded from the inventory table? What individual or entity has the authority to act on the results of the inventory? Who will be making the recommendations?
The Inventory Table is designed to capture information the district collects about the assessments. It is openly licensed, which allows for modifications as needed to suit the district’s goals and context. Conduct the Inventory 9
In analyzing the inventory, it is critical to do several levels of analysis. Developing a student-level perspective by looking across all assessments students take at a particular grade level or grade band, and then by particular student needs and characteristics. Identifying assessments that district will continue to administer, and clarify if any need changes to ensure they are helpful for intended uses. Identifying the assessments that seem to be on the table for elimination or significant changes. Helping districts build toward recommendations while reengaging with key stakeholders to review potential options and decision points. Analyze the Inventory 10
Based on the inventory analysis, what recommendations will the district make to streamline and/or strengthen its assessment program? Make Recommendations 11
Overview 13 The inventory table is a chart that guides districts in compiling information about assessments. There are three types of questions being asked in the table: Basic information questions Use/purpose questions Operational questions Some information to complete the table will not be directly available from test specifications and may require communicating with users of the assessment, especially with respect to issues of assessment use. A short survey or set of focus groups may be appropriate in such circumstances.
Focus on summative, interim, and benchmark assessments given across multiple classrooms or schools rather than individual classroom-based formative (quizzes) or summative (individual end-of-course) assessments developed by teachers. It is more important to provide key details of each assessment than to spend significant time classifying an assessment as, for example, “benchmark” or “interim.” For more discussion on the research base on such assessments, please see this framework by the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment.this framework General guidelines 14
Inventory Table: Basic information questions 15
Connecticut SDE Connecticut Context Thank you to Achieve for inviting Connecticut to pilot the Student Assessment Inventory. Connecticut jumped at this opportunity to take a leadership role in this project and partner with districts to streamline the amount of testing. As CT transitions to the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, there is a critical window of opportunity for districts to take stock of and make choices about the assessments students are required to take.
Connecticut SDE General District Feedback “The tool release comes at a perfect time as a result of the transition in state assessments as well as continued implementation of the CCSS.” “The tool will be used in summer planning.” “It is great that the tool is ‘open source’ so it can be modified.” “It is great that the audit can be approached many times as it is designed to be an iterative process.” “We appreciate the clarification of purpose versus use of assessments that the tool stressed.”
Nancy M. DePalma, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, West Hartford Public Schools Email: firstname.lastname@example.org District Perspective 22
For more information: www.achieve.org/assessmentinventorywww.achieve.org/assessmentinventory Alissa Peltzman, Vice President, State Policy and Implementation Support email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Cory Curl, Senior Fellow, Assessment and Accountability email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Jacob Mishook, Associate Director, Assessment and Accountability email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org We are very interested in continuing to hear your feedback on the assessment inventory. Thank you! 24