Assessment in Education #1…an ongoing series on assessment
[Creative Commons 2.0, ccarlstead ]
The assessment market is a billion-dollar business. However, the market is in flux and no one can predict what will happen. Here are 9 key indicators to watch in 2017:
1. Uncertainty over the new administration’s educational policies
- On the campaign trail, the president said that CCSS had to go and implied that states should control education policy. These two quotes give some indication of what might happen:
“I want local education. I want the parents, and I want all of the teachers, and I want everybody to get together around a school and to make education great.”
“Common core is out!”
2. New education secretary supports charter schools/vouchers
- The new secretary of education has little experience in the public education sector. President Obama had moved to test less frequently, but at this time it is not known how the new administration will handle assessment.
3. Race to the Top ended July, 2015
- So how will the new administration fund education? The administration favors vouchers and school choice, a position which is likely to have an effect on testing, types of tests, and accountability. Schools will need to prove their value in order to keep students and teachers.
4. Continued pushback from PARCC and Smarter Balanced tests
- Many states are no longer giving the two tests. According to a 2016 Education Week report, only six states and D.C. are administering PARCC tests, and Smarter Balanced tests are being given in 14 states. Massachusetts is giving districts a choice between PARCC and the state test, and Louisiana and Michigan are moving to a hybrid test that combines PARCC with the existing state test. Two main reasons for the pushback are the technical issues involved in creating and administering online tests, and the related costs.
5. More states moving to withdraw from CCSS
- Many states are passing legislation to create new state standards, often starting with CCSS and customizing it beyond the allowed 15% variation. Four states have withdrawn completely from CCSS: Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. So the Common Core is a rolling target, as additional states are considering withdrawing from or customizing the CCSS.
6. A growing “opt out” movement by parents
- Many parents are refusing to have their children take the tests. What started as a small, local effort has grown into a large, national movement that is gaining momentum and support from educators as well as parents. Parents are becoming more vocal about the tests, the number of tests, and what the tests actually measure.
Source: Phi Delta Kappan, Gallup Poll September 2015
7. 36 states moving to competency-based learning
- New Hampshire is leading this movement and is serving as a model for other states. Idaho, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Maine are also exploring this area. As these states dive deeper into this movement, it will create a need for new kinds of assessment.
8. Increasing numbers of ELL students
- The number of ELL students is growing and this affects testing. Some educators believe that there should be separate tests for ELL students. Furthermore, opinions about immigration remain polarized. Both these issues will affect assessment.
9. National standardized test developers moving into state market
- In 2015, the assessment market was worth $2.5 billion. It continues to grow and remains big business. How will key players such as Pearson, AIR, DRC, Renaissance Learning, Measured Progress, and Measurement Incorporated respond to changes in the market? Companies that produce national standardized tests, such as ACT and SAT (College Board), are moving into the state assessment and formative assessment markets. They will have an impact on testing, including the type of tests developed.
What do you think will happen with assessment? In a future post in this series, we’ll show a summary of your colleagues’ responses.