As states implement new college and career-ready standards, they will also transition to new assessments designed to better measure if students are on track to college and career readiness. CCSSO will work with educators as they make this transition and use the new assessments to improve teaching and student learning. For almost 40 years, CCSSO has convened the annual National Conference on Student Assessment (NCSA), where upwards of 1,000 state assessment professionals and experts come together to examine salient issues in measuring and reporting what students know and can do. CCSSO also leads 11 State Collaboratives on Assessments and Student Standards (SCASS), which bring together leaders from state education agencies who share mutual interests and specific challenges in standards and assessments.
Standards, Assessment & Accountability
The Standards, Assessment, and Accountability Initiative focuses on the three historical and most powerful drivers of education systems. State by state, we have made progress in these areas over the past decade-but we need to continue to support and effect the transformative change that will truly prepare every child, in every school, for the challenges and opportunities of the future.
To accomplish this goal nationwide, we believe that we must approach the next wave of standards, ass...
Standards, Assessment & Accountability Programs
Setting clear expectations for what student excellence actually looks like is critical for a student to be successful—before and after high school graduation. While this may seem intuitive, every year, far too many of our nation’s college students end up in remedial courses because they were under-prepared in high school. Across the country, states have chosen to upgrade their standards by adopting and implementing either the Common Core State Standards or other college- and career-ready standards. As a result, students are gaining a deeper understanding of subject matter, are learning to think critically, and are applying their learning to real-world problems. CCSSO assists states in implementing new standards through proactive engagement and outreach, and by connecting chiefs with the tools they need to help schools and teachers bring the standards to life for their students.
CCSSO works with states to create accountability systems that ensure every student has access to a high-quality education. States will achieve this goal by (1) driving school and district performance towards college- and career-readiness, (2) distinguishing performance in order to more meaningfully target supports and interventions to the students most in need, (3) providing timely, transparent data to spur action at all levels, and (4) fostering innovation and continuous improvement throughout the system.
To provide clear focus on early childhood education, birth to third grade, the Council developed a policy statement, Equity Starts Early, to outline the leadership level actions and system changes that are imperative to increasing access to high quality early learning programs in states. With this paper, many chiefs have taken a more direct leadership role in identifying opportunities and programs that can increase success and foundational skill building in the early grades. The Council will translate the chiefs’ needs and interest into three overarching strategies of action: (a) Increasing chiefs’ leadership and SEA capacity to implement one or more of the Equity Starts Early recommendations, (b) Generating and promoting a shared, research-based vision of equity-promoting teaching and learning in Pre-K programs and K to 3rd grade classrooms, (c) Improving the federal-state partnership in managing and improving early childhood programs. The Council interacts with chiefs and educational leaders at state education agencies to advance the three strategies as one of its priorities. A series of action networks, convenings, and intensive technical support with more than 20 states touch on improving outcomes in several policy areas. In addition, the Council works with national partners on promoting equity for our youngest learners.
The National Conference on Student Assessment (NCSA) provides a forum for conference attendees to find out what is happening in the world of assessment - what is new, what is changing, and what is working and not working. NCSA is a practitioner's conference and where attendees can network with professionals in the assessment community while learning about the possibilities of assessment and learning.
The State Collaboratives on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS) are groups of State Education Agency (SEA) career service professionals who work together to solve common educational problems. With a focus on assessment development and implementation issues, the SCASS System provides states with tools for professional development, program involvement, and advocacy.
State education reform efforts triggered by the broad adoption of the Common Core State Standards (and parallel efforts to raise standards to meet college- and career-ready goals) have combined with the growth of the English Language Learner (ELL) population across many states to create a high-leverage policy environment in which states could transform their support services to this traditionally under-served population of students.
CCSSO engages state chiefs in statewide improvement initiatives, including implementation of the State Systems Improvement Plan. CCSSO also helps to bridge special education and general education systems to ensure integrated efforts to improve outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities. CCSSO hosts many state convenings each year to keep new assessment challenges at the forefront and give states opportunities to voice their concerns, suggestions, and recommendations around issues related to students with disabilities.
Publications & Resources
- CCSSO Accessibility Manual: How To Select, Administer, And Evaluate Use Of Accessibility Supports For Instruction And Assessment Of All Students
- English Language Learners with Disabilities: A Call for Additional Research and Policy Guidelines
- Comprehensive Statewide Assessment Systems: A Framework for the Role of the State Education Agency in Improving Quality and Reducing Burden