Statewide assessments are an important tool to monitor students’ learning at the end of each school year, and to share that information with educators, families, and communities.
But what if instead of a single, longer test at the end of the year, state tests were shorter and embedded throughout the school year — giving educators and families more timely insights into students’ progress against academic standards? Several states are implementing or exploring this idea of “through-year” assessments, where multiple tests are administered over a school year, including Delaware, Florida, Nebraska, and Texas.
In Testing the Waters: Insights Into Parent Perspectives on Through-Year Assessment Implementation, we spoke with state assessment directors, district leaders, and parents in the four states to learn more about how these assessments worked for students, families, and educators.
These conversations surfaced five opportunities for improving through-year assessment implementation:
- Incorporating parent voices in assessment design and implementation decisions.
- Improving information flow between the state and parents, via districts and schools.
- Monitoring of student test experience and the effects of new test administrations on students’ school day and year.
- Reporting of scores with more explanatory and framing information on what new scores signify.
- Clarifying the use cases of different test designs for accountability versus instructional decisions.
Bellwether sat down with Dr. Shaunté Duggins, associate director at the University of Florida’s Lastinger Center for Learning’s New Worlds Reading Initiative to learn more about its work with families in the state on this issue.