Latest round of federal grants aims to make state assessments more fair and accurate

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The U.S. Department of Education released the latest batch of federal funds aimed at making state assessments more “high-quality, innovative, and authentic,” with more than $29 million in grants going to 10 state education agencies. States this time.

State agencies will be able to use money from the Competitive Grants for State Assessments program to improve their testing systems after years of COVID-19-related disruptions. States suspended testing for the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and many did not see test data until spring 2021 test resultswhose student participation was historically low in many areas.

This year’s funding priorities under the grant program highlight the importance of better understanding student academic achievement and creating more equitable testing systems for English language learners and students with disabilities, according to the announcement. of the department.

And the department encouraged agencies to use the funds to help parents and families better understand the assessment data.

Better assessments will also help school leaders “personalize instruction to meet the diverse needs of students; make critical, data-driven decisions that can positively impact student opportunities and outcomes; and communicate progress to parents and families,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

The new grants also come as the National Assessment of Education Progress, otherwise known as the “Nation Report Card,” prepares for a redesign.. The redesign will expand the list of devices used to take the exam, experimenting with computer-adaptive testing to modify questions as students get answers right or wrong, and to better understand achievement gaps to promote equity.

How states plan to use their money

States that received grants under this year’s program will be able to use the money for similar plans to improve fairness and redesign assessment systems. Here is the breakdown of this series of grants:

  • Arkansas received $2.15 million to “make better decisions for students about to participate in alternative assessment using multiple measures of academic achievement from multiple sources”;
  • Hawaii received nearly $3 million for “expanding classroom assessment system components into the Hawaii Comprehensive Assessment Program”;
  • Illinois received $3 million for its “Transición Early High School Spanish Language Arts Assessment” program;
  • Kentucky Received $3 Million for its United We Learn Program: Transforming Educational Opportunities for Kentucky Youth through Creating and Scaling Competency-Based Assessment and Accountability » ;
  • Louisiana received $5.9 million for its projects, “Testing What’s Taught: Equity in Test Design Project” and “Project INTEL: Interim Assessments for English Learners”;
  • Missouri received $2.5 million for its Pathways for Instructionally Embedded Assessment program;
  • Montana received nearly $3 million for “demonstrating the full potential of a year-round rating system in Montana”;
  • Nebraska received nearly $3 million for its Coherence and Alignment for Science Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment program;
  • New York received nearly $3 million for its Performance Learning and Assessment Networks pilot program; and
  • North Carolina received $1.1 million for its Multilingual-Multimodal Science Inventory program.
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