June 25, 2024

Multiple Choices: Weighing Updates to State Summative Assessments

By Michelle Croft | Bonnie O’Keefe | Marisa Mission | Juliet Squire

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State summative assessments play an important role in measuring student learning and guiding educational improvement efforts, despite their limitations. But there is growing momentum in individual states and nationally to rethink these assessments with an eye toward reducing time spent on testing and increasing the tests’ instructional relevance.

Multiple Choices: Weighing Updates to State Summative Assessments helps policymakers and advocates understand what they may gain and what they may lose when considering potential shifts in assessments. The report examines several of the most common proposed changes — including reducing test length, matrix sampling, student sampling, grade-band testing, performance assessment, and through-year assessment — and summarizes the potential gains, losses, and unknowns of each.

The report also offers recommendations for state policymakers, federal policymakers, and advocates working to ensure that summative assessments better address the needs of educators, families, and students.

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