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5 assessment policy recommendations for the Biden administration

A nonprofit group is offering expert insight into assessment policy priorities for the incoming presidential administration

The incoming Biden administration and Congress should focus on innovation, flexibility and more relevance to teaching and learning when it comes to assessment policy, according to NWEA.

Following the release of NWEA’s research on the impact of COVID-19 school disruptions on learning, the nonprofit research and assessment provider announced K-12 assessment policy recommendations for the incoming administration.

“The pandemic has illuminated persistent inequities and while statewide assessment and related accountability systems have helped to move the needle somewhat over the past 20 years, these systems have not eliminated opportunity and achievement gaps,” said Aaliyah Samuel, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Partnerships at NWEA. “Given the impacts of the pandemic, it’s time – now more than ever – to modernize the system to one that is focused on action.”

NWEA’s assessment policy recommendations include:

1. Require statewide assessments in spring 2021 but provide flexibility

This is not the year to use assessments for high-stakes decisions such as school ratings and teacher evaluation, but it is also not the year to cancel state assessments. Spring testing may need to look different and the use of the data should not be “as usual.” Along with opportunity-to-learn data and community input, information from spring tests can shed light on the pandemic’s impact on systems of learning and inform decisions about support and intervention as well as equitable funding and resource allocation.

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