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Online Assessment: From Readiness to Opportunity

Online Assessment: From Readiness to Opportunity

Recognizing how the Common Core State Standard (CCSS), as well as various individual state College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS), have focused educators’ attention to the rigor, communication, higher-order thinking, and problem-solving demands of their new curricula, a new assessment model was needed that could better determine each student’s ability to meet the new criteria. Online assessments are proving they can provide such opportunities, and they are offering new methods for dramatically improving student learning outcomes through summative end-of-year assessments, as well as through interim and formative assessments that provide teachers with timely data on their students’ progress that can be used to modify and personalize instruction.

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), in partnership with the School Superintendents Association (AASA) and the National School Boards Association (NSBA), engaged the authors and sponsors of Raising the BAR: Becoming Assessment Ready to research and update their work to provide a current view of online assessments in the United States. ENA—one of the authors of the original white paper—collaborated with Dr. Tom Ryan, CEO of the eLearn Institute to write the new white paper, Online Assessment: From Readiness to Opportunity. This paper looks at the current state of online assessments, highlights best practices of school districts who have transitioned to online assessments, and illustrates the benefits and value of online assessments to the broader K–12 education community. This comprehensive paper includes valuable insights from representatives of AASA, NSBA, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced), Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), Houston Independent School District, and Santa Fe Public Schools along with key recommendations, checklists, and an online assessment planning tool.

Online Assessment Planning Tool

The Online Assessment Planning Tool created by Dr. Tom Ryan, CEO of eLearn Institute and Susan Van Gundy, CEO and founder of Eduvate, is designed to assist districts in thinking through common considerations for assembling effective online assessment plans, and for supporting the cultural and administrative change management that accompanies the shift to technology enhanced teaching, learning, and assessment. The tool draws from best practices that are emerging within districts around the county who are successfully making the leap to a culture of digital instructional materials, classroom assessments, and data that can promote personalized learning. Because districts, and individual schools within districts, are in different starting points, the tool references a range of planning strategies, both gradual and immediate, that districts can consider based on their needs and overall goals for moving the measurement of student progress beyond traditional paper-based methods.


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