Assessment HQ- Providing Greater Transparency to Facilitate Student Growth

Message from Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success

Today, the Collaborative for Student Success launched Assessment HQ, a unique online platform that takes the guesswork and risk of misinformation out of understanding state annual assessments by providing transparency on student proficiency and state testing decisions.

The assessment landscape is constantly changing—with states adjusting vendors, new proficiency data, and debates on proper accountability. We’re hopeful that this platform will help cut through much of the uncertainty around tests by offering a clean, consolidated look at actual state-reported information.

Four Things to Know About Assessment HQ:

  1. Assessment HQ identifies principles for good academic assessments. Annual assessments provide critical information to educators, policymakers, and families on the progress of all students and on the progress of schools and districts in improving student outcomes. In order for states to have reliable information from annual assessments, state leaders must know they are delivering a high-quality test.
  2. For the first time, student proficiency data for more than half of states in grades 3-8 will be publicly available online, and in one location, for anyone to view and use. Assessment HQ highlights state-reported student performance results in mathematics and English language arts (ELA) by student demographics.
  3. The new site features a dynamic map that highlights information of which assessments each state has used in the past four years for grades 3-8. Assessment HQ allows users to see trends in individual states and observe the performance of student groups, like African American and Hispanic students. Only by exploring trend data on these students can we ensure they are making real progress.
  4. Along with being able to view student proficiency data, Assessment HQ will also include original commentary provided by Dale Chu, a former teacher and educational policy expert who has led work in both the Florida and Indiana Departments of Education. “Testing 1-2-3” will undergird four key principles: equity, transparency and honesty, comparability, and quality. You can expect to see highlights from in-state and national media coverage, analysis of assessment decisions, interview with key players in the field, reporting, and information and insights on the quality of current state assessments.

Resources

Assessment HQ is the go-to source for understanding how states are using quality annual assessments to improve education. We have also previously released resources regarding K-12 assessments, including the Success is Trending Series and Honesty Gap website. In addition to the components listed above and our other resources, Assessment HQ will also spotlight partner resources to help increase understanding of academic assessments which have been created by state and national organizations. These include:

  • High School Assessment Trends and Data Explorer, Achieve
  • About the State Test, Learning Heroes
  • The Center for Assessment
  • The Center on Standards & Assessment Implementation (CSAI)
  • Assessment 101: A Policymaker’s Guide to K-12 Assessments, The Education Commission of the States
  • Position Statement on Assessment, The National Parent Teacher Association
  • Testing Provides Crucial Information, National Urban League
  • Student Testing in America’s Great City Schools, Council of the Great City Schools
  • Why Assessment Is Important: And What Do the Results Tell Us About How Schools Are Serving Black Children?, Education Trust and Black Alliance for Educational Options
  • Ready to Succeed, Unidos US

All of these resources can be found at Assessment HQ. Also, click here to share about Assessment HQ on social media. 

Conclusion

Assessment HQ enables understanding of how college-ready standards and high-quality annual assessments can help advance and inform policies related to educational equity and student achievement across the country. While annual assessments can always be improved, they are one of the best tools we currently have to provide an honest check on states to ensure that the decisions and policies impacting young people are grounded in evidence and real results. They are particularly important for those students who are most vulnerable or who have been historically underserved by education systems. Not only do assessments help level the playing field, but they also help ensure that schools are preparing students for college or career.

As always, I welcome your feedback and appreciate our partnership.

Jim Cowen is the Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success.