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Press Release

Monday, March 23, 2015

State Leaders Discuss Progress in Efforts to Maintain Quality, Reduce Testing Time for Students

Contact:Olympia Meolaolympia.meola@ccsso.org202-336-7071

Washington, D.C. (March 23, 2015) - Just months after the nation's state and large-city district leaders announced efforts to evaluate the quality of assessments and eliminate any redundant tests, states are already making significant progress.

State education leaders on Monday highlighted their progress during a state-led discussion at the Council of Chief State School Officers' (CCSSO) 2015 Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.

During the discussion, representatives from Illinois and Ohio detailed their efforts to maintain high-quality measures for students while also working to reduce the amount of time kids spend testing in school. They were joined by Achieve President Michael Cohen, who discussed Achieve's Student Assessment Inventory Tool. Several states are using Achieve's tool to work more closely with local districts to evaluate the assessments they are administering at all levels.

"As we transition to new assessments aligned with college- and career-ready expectations across the country, states have taken the lead to review their assessments at all levels and make sure they are of the highest quality and delivering meaningful information for parents, students and teachers. I am impressed by the progress we have made so far, and look forward to seeing how these best practices can be used in other states and local school districts in the future," said Chris Minnich, CCSSO's executive director.

In October, CCSSO joined the Council of the Great City Schools in announcing a series of established principles to guide state and district leaders to make sure every test administered is of high-quality, coherent and meaningful to students, parents and teachers. More than 30 state and urban school leaders offered strong statements of support for the work at that time.

"The states and city school systems continue to move aggressively to ensure that the amount and quality of testing that is done in our schools across the country are appropriate and coherent," said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools.

"I applaud the states for the progress they have made and value the partnership between our two organizations in addressing these important assessment issues," Casserly continued. "The nation's urban schools will be making additional announcements on their progress soon."

State education leaders specifically committed to increase the transparency of the state assessment system, evaluate the state assessment system for quality and coherence, work with educational stakeholders to eliminate redundant tests, and partner with school districts to review their benchmark and formative assessments.

Many states have taken action in these areas since October; Illinois and Ohio are just two examples.

The Illinois State Board of Education in November 2014 released the Student Assessment Inventory for School Districts, which is an adaptation of Achieve's assessment inventory. Illinois developed this tool with the idea that districts could take ownership and adapt the inventory based on local needs and compile a stock take of their district's assessments.  Illinois also developed the Assessment Inventory Facilitation Process which is a guide for districts using the assessment inventory. These resources from ISBE will provide districts with a comprehensive analysis of their assessment system and help them develop recommendations on how to reduce testing time for students.

The Ohio Department of Education in January 2015 released Testing Report and Recommendations, a comprehensive evaluation of the Ohio testing landscape focused on the amount of time students spend on testing. The Ohio Department of Education surveyed districts and had conversations with education stakeholders regarding testing time.  Ohio was able to use these conversations and survey results to calculate the average amount of time a student spends on taking a test each year. Based on the data collection and conversations, Ohio was able to make more informed decisions and propose recommendations on how to reduce the testing time for students. Ohio is an example of how a state education department has taken the lead on reducing testing time for students by working with districts to create a comprehensive review of their state's testing landscape.

Other examples of states that thave aken action are Colorado, Connecticut, and North Carolina, to name a few.

For more information on the progress states are making, visit CCSSO's High-Quality Assessments webpage.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.