Visioning toolkit highlights new assessment possibilities under ESSA

State leaders turn to new toolkit and for guidance

Topics: Education Policy, ESSA

Four Critical Opportunities for States Under the Every Student S States are engaging with stakeholders to explore a range of new assessment opportunities under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As they consider next steps, some education stakeholders, including state leaders, are turning to for guidance.

“As these resources show, states now have greater flexibility to design systems of assessment that meaningfully measure progress against outcomes that matter for the success of all kids,” said Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Today, KnowledgeWorks and the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment (Center for Assessment) add another resource to the site, a Visioning Toolkit for Better Assessments. The toolkit will help stakeholders explore new assessment provisions under ESSA and deepen their understanding of assessment models that are possible under the law.

“States have a significant opportunity before them to redesign student-centered education systems that stakeholders find useful and relevant,” KnowledgeWorks Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Matt Williams said. “Our new toolkit will help states and other stakeholders deepen conversations about what is now possible under ESSA so they can identify the best path forward for innovative assessment design.”

The toolkit includes:

  • An infographic that provides a visual overview of four critical opportunities available to states under ESSA for building next-generation assessment systems.
  • FAQs to answer the most common questions regarding general assessment requirements for ESSA’s sections 1111(b)(2) and 1204.
  • An overview of the state policy conditions that support innovative assessment systems.
  • 15 possible state assessment models that states could build under the Innovative Assessment and Accountability Demonstration Authority.
  • A Theory of Action to guide the design and evaluation of State innovative assessment and accountability systems, and to help states connect system components to intended goals.
  • An interactive, digital Innovative Assessment Survey Tool to guide states to possible assessment models based on local criteria.

“We intend for this toolkit to build off the lessons we’ve learned in many settings as we support states that are wrestling with the challenges of first deciding and then hopefully submitting an application for the innovative assessment and accountability pilot,” said Scott Marion, Executive Director of the Center for Assessment. “Rather than proposing a particular model, this toolkit is designed to help states work within their specific contexts and constraints and move to more innovative assessment approaches for maximizing student learning.”, which was launched in July, is a collaborative project between KnowledgeWorks and the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment (Center for Assessment). The project will help states explore the range of assessment opportunities in ESSA, providing important tools to guide them through the exploratory, planning, design and implementation stages of this opportunity. It is supported by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

So far, includes the new visioning toolkit and four briefs that dive into the State Readiness Conditions critical to a successful application under the Innovative Assessment and Accountability Demonstration Authority ESSA. KnowledgeWorks and the Center for Assessment will continue to post additional resources through the end of the year to support states as they redesign their state assessment systems.

About KnowledgeWorks

KnowledgeWorks is a national nonprofit organization advancing a future of learning that ensures each student graduates ready for what’s next. For more than 20 years, we’ve been partnering with states, communities and leaders across the country to imagine, build and sustain vibrant learning communities. Through evidence-based practices and a commitment to equitable outcomes, we’re creating the future of learning, together.