The only organization dedicated solely to helping state boards advance equity and excellence in public education.


With students returning to school for the 2020–21 school year, state boards of education will need to get a handle on exactly where students are in their learning in order to target resources and support. States also will need to restart annual assessments mandated by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act in order to track progress over time, particularly for vulnerable subgroups of students.


A Shifting Landscape for State Testing



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Also In this Issue

States Experiment with Assessment through Innovative Pilots

By Joseph Hedger

Five states received federal waivers for regular assessments so they could pilot assessment systems in select districts or schools over five years.





Performance Assessments: Promises and Pitfalls

By Marianne Perie

By learning from the past, state boards can add depth and relevance to their assessment systems.





We Should Listen to the Canaries

By Ellen Forte

How alternate assessments for students with disabilities and English learners can point us toward better systems for all.





How a Crisis Can Transform Learning, Teaching, and Assessment

By Abby Javurek and Jason Mendenhall

State policymakers should take the opportunity to reimagine their education systems.






Breakthrough or Breakdown? School Accountability in Flux

By Chris Domaleski

Time to steer systems toward better balance and coherence.





Test-Based Accountability in Distressed Times

By Chester E. Finn Jr. and Eric A. Hanushek

State leaders should stick with their assessments because they improve student learning and school performance.





Four Test Questions for State Boards

By Abigail Potts

These questions can help frame conversations on assessment approval and intersections with state accountability.





A Shifting Landscape for State Testing

By Lynn Olson

It is important to understand the history of state summative assessment in the United States.








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Image Credit: Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for EDUimages i

State Strategies on Assessments in 2021

This analysis explores the strategies states employed to administer assessments in the 2020-21 school year. It also highlights the opportunities for state boards to learn from and make the best use of data collected from the pandemic school year.

Five Questions to Ask about School Staff Wellness in the Wake of COVID-19

The pandemic increased educator stress and burnout. Here are five questions state board members can ask to engage their state around staff wellness.
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Reimagining School

Bolstered by American Rescue Plan funds and lessons learned during pandemic-induced school closures, state policymakers have an opportunity to reexamine and reform their education systems.

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