As leaders of state school systems and the nation’s largest city school districts, we know assessments
are a necessary part of education to help improve learning for every child. High-quality assessments
provide an academic checkup so students, parents, and educators understand how each child is
progressing toward goals, regardless of race, income, or language. Without assessments given at
least once a year, educational leaders would not have the information they need to know about who
is learning, and who is not. We use tests – at the classroom, school, district and state levels – to make
critical decisions about instruction, additional assistance, advanced opportunities, and policies.
The Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools believe that
assessments should be guided by the following principles:
- Assessments should be high quality. We cannot waste student or teacher time with low quality tests. Assessments must be aligned with college- and career-ready standards. Assessments must measure students’ abilities to think critically, synthesize material from multiple sources, analyze problems, and explain and justify responses.
- Assessments should be part of a coherent system. Assessments should complement each other in a way that defines a coherent system of measures. Assessments should be administered in only the numbers and duration that will give us the information that is needed and nothing more. Multiple assessments of the same students for similar purposes should be minimized or eliminated.
- Assessments should be meaningful. Assessments are critical to improving instructional practice in the classroom and to helping parents make decisions. Therefore, the results of assessments should be timely, transparent, disaggregated, and easily accessible to students, parents, teachers and the public so they can interpret and analyze results, as needed.