GA and NC to test New Ways to assess Student Achievement
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has approved two additional states to assess student achievement in new, creative ways. Georgia and North Carolina will take part in the innovative assessments pilot program, part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), during the 2019-2020 school year. “I’m pleased that Georgia and North Carolina are rethinking how to assess student achievement in ways that are more relevant and connected to the classroom,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “This pilot program gives states that are willing to try a new approach an opportunity to assess student achievement without sacrificing rigor or skirting accountability. I look forward to seeing the impact this study will have on student outcomes.” The Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) program is designed to encourage local involvement in the development of the next generation of assessments. As part of the program, states can pilot new and innovative assessments on a small scale, avoid double-testing students on both pilot and statewide exams, and develop strategies for implementing such innovative assessments statewide over time. Georgia will pilot two different innovative assessments: one based on the use of adaptive interim assessments, and the other based on the use of on-demand assessments designed to provide real-time data on student performance. Both assessments utilize technology to provide educators with valuable data that can be used to target support during the school year. North Carolina’s new innovative assessment will rely on the use of a customized, end-of-year assessment (called a “route”) for each student, developed in response to a student’s performance on two formative assessments taken during the school year. Each route represents a cluster of test questions designed to measure a student’s achievement accurately and efficiently. To participate in the pilot, states must apply and demonstrate how their innovative assessments are developed in collaboration with local stakeholders, aligned to challenging state academic standards and accessible to all students through the use of principles of universal design for learning, among other requirements. Georgia and North Carolina join two other pilot states, Louisiana and New Hampshire, which were granted flexibility as part of the IADA in 2018.