4 equity ideas for revamping testing post-COVID

Here are strategies for using assessment results to improve outcomes, provide interventions and distribute resources
By: | April 9, 2021

Like many educators, you are likely coming to recognize that the disruptions of COVID have thrown into sharp relief the need to assess students more equitably.

Any you may be among the many administrators now working to develop a fuller picture of how students, educators, and schools are doing more than a year after COVID shut down the education system.

District leaders are looking for strategies for using assessment results more effectively to improve outcomes, provide interventions and distribute resources as schools recover from the pandemic.

One solution will be for federal and state officials to prioritize local context and need when supporting district leaders who are targetting resources toward students who have been most impacted by COPVID, says a new analysis.

This highly-impacted group includes students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, English learners and students with disabilities, says the report released by Education Reform Now, a nonprofit that advocates for underserved students, and the testing organization NWEA.

Here the three more challenges and solutions detailed in the report:

Challenge: How to reenvision accountability systems so the data helps educators develop high-quality and effective learning opportunities and resources that improve student outcomes

Solution: Recalibrate accountability and assessments systems so they place more emphasis on growth and the narrowing of gaps in

Challenge: ESSA focuses on the changes schools can make, even though systemic state and district and policies—such as funding formulas, staffing and allocations of other resources—are most in need of reform.

Solution: The U.S. Department of Education, Congress, and education stakeholders should work together to develop a stronger feedback loop between schools, districts and states. This can lead to a more effective distribution of resources and the implementation of evidence-based policies that drive student success.

Challenge: Annual statewide assessments were established to determine whether students are receiving high-quality education and to identify schools most in need of support. However, struggles to close gaps in many states suggesting that assessment data may not be as actionable or culturally relevant as intended.

Solution: Develop assessments that provide students with more equitable opportunities to show what they know and produce results that are more timely and actionable for policymakers, educators, families, and students.