Already under fire before spring 2020, the dominance of federally mandated test-based accountability in American education had led many educators and policymakers to decry the system as largely out of balance and to suggest that this imbalance has stifled productive local efforts toward meaningful, lasting improvements in student learning. It is not too early to conclude that all these cumulative factors will—and should—change assessment and accountability systems. But what kind of change is appropriate, and how can state boards of education support such changes?


Breakthrough or Breakdown? School Accountability in Flux





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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