Sunday, May 22, 2016

ESSA Workgroups Meet: Standards and Assessment

This is the second of four posts regarding the ESSA workgroups meeting in Oregon to create Oregon's new system under ESSA. These are summaries released from each workgroup. Today we post the Standards and Assessment Workgroup's recap/next steps. Find more information about this workgroup here.   More on the other workgroups to come. 

Standards & Assessment Workgroup: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going
The Standards & Assessment Workgroup has been charged with considering how best to support districts in implementing the state’s rigorous content standards and how best to tailor our state’s assessment system to meet both the requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the needs of students and educators to improve student outcomes throughout students’ PK-20 experience.

Work Group Progress
The Standards & Assessment Workgroup identified a long-
term vision for how Oregon’s assessment system can best meet the needs of all students and reached a shared understanding of the purpose of different types of assessments:
*Our Long-Term Vision: To most effectively ensure the right fit of assessment tools to the desired outcome, we need a comprehensive and balanced assessment system that includes formative and interim assessments to inform student-level instructional decisions in addition to our current summative assessments that measure systems-level outcomes. To get there we need:
o More time, professional development, and state support around formative and interim assessment practices (not tied to systems accountability)
o Reduced emphasis (and time spent) on the statewide summative assessment (supports systems accountability)

*Summative Assessments (such as Oregon’s current statewide tests) are designed to determine how much knowledge and skills groups of students (e.g. programs, schools, districts, and states) have acquired over a long period of time and are administered after instruction has occurred. These assessments are primarily used for systems (e.g., schools and districts) accountability purposes but may also be used in some instances to measure student-level outcomes.

 *Interim assessments are designed to determine the progress of groups of students based on focused elements of content. While their structure may be similar to summative assessments, they typically focus on a narrower set of content or skills and are administered periodically throughout the year (e.g., at the end of a particular unit).

*Formative assessments are a process that supports learning and is used while a student is still engaged in instruction. Formative assessments are often thought of as assessments for learning rather than assessments of learning.

Ongoing Discussions
At the April 26th meeting, workgroup members engaged in break-out discussions focusing on the following areas for short- or near-term action to help us realize our long-term vision for Oregon’s statewide assessment system:
 *Standards Implementation Resource Needs
At our April 26th meeting, this breakout discussion focused on:
o Ways to increase stakeholder engagement in the creation, revision, and review of standards during the adoption process
o Remaining implementation gap that exists for Oregon’s adopted standards

*High School Flexibility
At our April 26
th meeting, this breakout discussion focused on:
o Implications for ensuring equitable opportunities (not just equal opportunities) and accessibility supports for all students, regardless of which assessment their district administers
o Implications of offering flexibility to higher education entrance and/or placement determinations
o Implications for reducing the summative assessment testing footprint
o Implications for transparency and comparability across school districts
o Values we want to ensure are reflected in the evaluation process should Oregon
decide to approve additional assessments for high school flexibility  
*Accessibility Support Needs
At our April 26th meeting, this breakout discussion focused on:
o Implications for students in poverty, not just students with disabilities or ELs o The need to ensure that test content is culturally familiar for all students
 *Summative Assessment Administration Policies
At our April 26
th meeting, this breakout discussion focused on:
o Ways to possibly reduce test length / testing time for individual students
o Possibly shifting the high school grade of accountability from grade 11 to grade
10, or alternatively providing an early testing option for eligible 10th graders
o Possibly allowing eligible students to target down to an earlier grade for those
students for whom the grade-level assessment is too rigorous and the alternate
assessment is not appropriate
 *Formative & Interim Assessment Resource Needs
At our April 26th meeting, this breakout discussion focused on:
o The need to build capacity for formative and interim assessment practices so
they play a larger role than summative assessment in Oregon’s statewide
assessment system
o The need for including educators in the local development and scoring of
interim assessments
o The implications of incorporating interim assessments into Oregon’s
accountability system down the road

At our May 18
th meeting, the Standards & Assessment Workgroup will continue to engage in break-out discussions focusing on the following areas for short- or near-term action:
  •   *Standards Implementation Resource Needs
  •   *High School Flexibility
  •   *Summative Assessment Administration Policies
  •   *Formative & Interim Assessment Resource Needs

    Given the overarching impact and importance of accessibility across these areas, accessibility will be discussed in each of these breakouts moving forward rather than as a stand-alone breakout group. As the discussions in each of these four breakout areas evolve, the full workgroup will have opportunities to share with one another across breakout discussion areas. By the end of the day, we hope to begin formulating considerations for how best to build out Oregon’s statewide assessment system through our State Plan and our implementation of ESSA. This process will continue through our final meeting on June 28th

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