$8m grants to develop new and innovative ways to measure science achievement

Fri, December 16, 2016 1:24 PM | Anonymous

Three big announcements from the Administration yesterday, including one on science assessments (highlighted below).  Jodi

Today, the White House and the U.S. Department of Education are bringing together state and district leaders, along with many other educators, to discuss the impact of the Testing Action Plan  and what more can be done to ensure that tests are better, fairer, and fewer.  As part of the event, the Department of Education is announcing additional resources and guidance for states and school districts aligned with the Testing Action Plan, including nearly $8 million in grants to the Maryland and Nebraska State Departments of Education to develop new and innovative ways to measure science achievement that can serve as models for other states.  (more info on that below, highlighted)

Further, the Department is announcing the release of two Notices of Final Regulations (NFRs) that implement provisions of Title I of the ESSA, including the final regulation for state assessment systems under Title I, Part A, and the final regulation under Title I, Part B.  Below, we’ve included the letter that was sent today to all Chief State School Officers that includes links to the final regulations, as well as the White House Fact Sheet outlining the release.  For your ease, the Department has developed a summary document on both NFRs that can be found here.

And yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education posted non-regulatory guidance on the teacher preparation regulations at http://www.ed.gov/teacherprep. 

 $8 Million in Grants to Make Tests BetterThe Department of Education is announcing nearly $8 million in funding to the Maryland State Department of Education and the Nebraska Department of Education through its Enhanced Assessment Instruments Competitive Grant Program (EAG).  This round of EAG provides resources to improve the quality of state assessments used to measure academic achievement, to provide opportunities for innovation through the use of technology and the development of new, innovative item types, and to develop better scoring mechanisms for communicating and using assessment results to support teachers and students.  President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget included a $34 million request for “Competitive Assessment Grants,” the successor to the Enhanced Assessment Grants program under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The two projects funded this year support the work of to two consortia that represent eight states to develop high-quality science assessments.

  • The Innovations in Science Map, Assessment, and Report Technologies (I-SMART) Project, led by the Maryland State Department of Education and in partnership with Missouri, New York, New Jersey, and Oklahoma, will produce innovative science assessments aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards to support comprehensive alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.  It will contain multiple measures of student progress over time, develop a science learning map that includes multiple pathways for students to learn science content and reach challenging grade-level expectations, and also deliver score reports that improve the information about student performance that is shared with educators and families.
  • The Strengthening Claims-Based Interpretations and Uses of Local and Large-Scale Science Assessments (SCILLSS) project, led by the Nebraska Department of Education in partnership with Montana and Wyoming, aims to improve the quality of statewide science assessments.  The project will leverage existing tools and expertise to generate more resources to strengthen states’ ability to create and evaluate quality science assessments.  The project will also engage state and local educators to clarify the interpretations and uses of assessments scores and to create tools to improve the usefulness of student performance results.

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