Q: How does ESSA change the game for assessment?
A: Under NCLB, a single score represented student achievement. While there is certainly value in summative assessment, a more holistic picture of student accomplishment reflects both on-grade achievement and overall growth during the year, as well as considering non-traditional factors. ESSA encourages a broader view of educational success.
Q: What kinds of assessment can now be considered?
A: Summative assessment still plays a role, but measuring student achievement is no longer limited to a single test at the conclusion of the school year that defines your success and determines your funding. ESSA expands accountability measures to include both achievement and growth, which can help show that even students who are not yet on grade level have improved—sometimes dramatically—from where they started the school year.
Q: What does this mean for traditional, interim measures?
A: ESSA encourages multiple, comprehensive assessments, allowing for interim measures throughout the year. This approach not only provides a more holistic, accurate picture of student ability but also allows for important data to be provided to educators throughout the year (as opposed to after the year is completed). Interim assessments can also be aligned more readily to a state’s pacing guides to naturally assess content that is being taught, which can help avoid the “teach to the test” mentality. In addition, interim testing can provide a comprehensive, summative result that makes it easier to adjust instruction to better serve student needs during the year. Further, ESSA supports non-traditional assessments such as student perception or school climate surveys. These provide a much broader view of additional factors that lead to school success.
Q: Can’t you just take all the scores you have and create an average?
A: Intuitively you would think so, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. The key is to make sure the resulting summative statistic is psychometrically sound and educationally defensible. You need to carefully consider a variety of factors, such as the test scaled score, how growth is captured vs on-grade performance, how non-traditional measures such as student surveys fit in, and how all of that is included in a holistic set of accountability data. In addition, you need to be able to disaggregate your data to demonstrate success across different student populations. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re going to get a much better picture of student and school achievement.
Q: How is Scantron addressing this issue?
A: Carefully. We want to ensure we have a solution that is sound, defensible, and useful. Just as when we launched our computer-adaptive assessment many years ago, we’re making sure our new approaches are valid, fair, and serve the needs of students and educators at all levels. We’ve built our reputation on sound, well-researched assessments that provide real value, and we’re not going to change that now. Check out our new digital, balanced assessment solution: Ascensus!
Get more than a score with Ascensus
- Measure current ability and advances over time with scaled scores that are independent of grade level and norm-referenced
- Identify achievement gaps beyond simple standard and strand for criterion-based targeted intervention and remediation
- Robust item coverage in core subjects for grades K–12 using traditional and technology-enhanced items
- Concretely measure whether students have proficiency in a specific set of knowledge with digital, fixed-form testing
- Create items on any subject using our robust, collaborative item editor
- Streamline test development with pre-defined item banks for core and CTE subjects are available
- Ensure test-taking integrity with a secure browser, ability to proctor exams, and options to protect sensitive items and tests
Got sensitive content (e.g., for pre-certification practice exams)? Our item and test banks can be locked to ensure confidentiality. Need help developing items and exams? Our assessment development experts are ready to help you at any stage of the assessment development process.
Expand Your Multimetric Approach
Need better access to your measures for your multimetric accountability system? Scantron Analytics is an integrated reporting platform that goes beyond simple reporting to provide interactive, real-time dashboards and visualizations so you can explore your data with simple mouse clicks. See a broad overview, easily aggregate and disaggregate student groups, and even drill down to individual student profiles. Include data from all your sources—no data warehouse needed!
Looking to incorporate or expand your use of non-traditional measures such as climate or engagement surveys? Look no further! Scantron’s alliance with My Student Survey brings you validated, researched survey instruments so you can easily administer and gather results from student, teacher, staff, and parent feedback surveys. If you have a survey you’d prefer to use, we’ll help you set that up on our turn-key survey administration portal. Either way, you get visual reports with actionable data you can use to drive school improvement.