In 2018, edCount and our partner, Measurement Incorporated, won a five-year project to develop and support the administration of the Louisiana LEAP Connect Assessment System for students with significant cognitive disabilities in English language arts, mathematics, and science. This work includes the development of assessment frameworks and items, item content and bias reviews, field testing, test form development, data reviews, standards validation, and technical reporting. edCount will be providing content, accessibility, assessment design, and assessment evaluation expertise related to alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. edCount will ensure coherence among assessment system components and alignment to the assessment claims and measurement constructs. In the first year of the project, edCount has supported the development and analysis of the item bank, the development of assessment guides with sample test items and assessment frameworks, and the prioritization of the science content standards for assessment. edCount will also write items for the new fully operational science test in 2021, as well as provide guidance and support for scoring and reporting of writing performance task items.
The National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) awarded Catherine Gewertz, Senior Contributing Writer for Education Week, its very first award for Excellence in Public Communication during the 2019 NCME Annual Meeting in Toronto in early April. This award honors Ms. Gewertz’s “journalistic contributions over two decades, which have effectively advanced the public’s knowledge and understanding of educational measurement.”
The NCME Board of Directors asked Dr. Ellen Forte, CEO and Chief Scientist at edCount, to establish and chair this committee, which is meant to recognize contributions that aim to communicate educational measurement concepts to an audience outside the field of educational measurement. Dr. Forte is dedicated to improving assessment literacy among education stakeholders and enhancing the quality and accessibility of measurement information for educators, parents, and students. NCME will ask for nominees for the 2020 prize in late 2019 and edCount will also post this call on its website to enhance dissemination.
edCount and the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) led a TASH conference session to share information on the development of science and social studies content modules undertaken by the Tennessee Department of Education, edCount, and Educational Testing Service. These modules are aligned to general education standards and support educators in providing grade-level instruction to students with significant cognitive disabilities, addressing their complex learning needs, and promoting inclusion.
Around 30 educators, advocates, and other TASH members attended the session. Presenters discussed the key characteristics of effective content delivery, including evidenced-based practices for teaching key vocabulary, suggestions for incorporating Universal Design for Learning (UDL), strategies for developing tactile maps and graphics, and ideas for transferring and generalizing concepts, knowledge, and skills to future school, community, and work environments. They also shared ideas on ways to support inclusion in science and social studies and discuss the impact that effective content delivery can have for all students. TDOE staff shared their experiences with the implementation of these content modules and how they provide a means to ensure classrooms are places where students with disabilities learn, experience meaningful participation, and develop a sense of belonging. The slides from the December presentation can be found here, and more information about TASH is available here. As their website states, the mission of TASH is “to promote the full inclusion and participation of children and adults with significant disabilities in every aspect of their community, and to eliminate the social injustices that diminish human rights.”
The Technical Issues in Large Scale Assessment State Collaborative on Assessments and Student Standards (TILSA SCASS) of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) commissioned Dr. Ellen Forte to write the white paper, Evaluating Alignment in Large-Scale Standards-Based Assessment Systems, in 2017. Through this paper, Dr. Forte explores technical and theoretical issues surrounding the evaluation of alignment in large-scale assessment systems for the general student population and for students with cognitive disabilities. This paper also specifically addresses the U.S. federal peer review requirements related to alignment. Click here to read the full text.
Based on Dr. Ellen Forte’s publications on the topic of alignment evaluation (e.g., 2013, 2017), this workshop provided participants with solid grounding in alignment evaluation methods for standards-based assessments within the contexts of principled-design assessment development, the United States Department of Education’s federal peer review requirements, and theStandards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, & NCME, 2014). Attendees participated in an activity in which they considered an alignment plan and conducted ratings of standards, claims, Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs), task models, blueprints, and items. The workshop concluded with a discussion of communication strategies in terms of reports and questions from stakeholders, including the media, parents, and technical advisory committees. To learn more about the conference, click here.
edCount is collaborating with lead state, Nebraska, and two other states (Montana, and Wyoming) and three partner organizations (ACS Ventures, SRI International, and PIRE, Inc.) on the Strengthening Claims-based Interpretations and Uses of Local and Large–scale Science Assessment Scores (SCILLSS) project, one of two recently funded Enhanced Assessment Grants (EAG). This project will develop a comprehensive assessment approach that clarifies and strengthens the connection between statewide assessments, local assessments, and classroom instruction. Through the SCILLSS project, we are developing tools and resources that focus efforts on restructuring and re-engineering both large-scale and local science assessments to ensure standards alignment, support system coherence, and to yield scores with more meaningful information. This project will have cross-state applicability and generalizability beyond the states engaged in the project. Key facets, including tools and resources, of the state-specific work completed through this project will be adaptable to other states’ contexts and sustainable beyond the life of the project. These tools and resources will be available on the SCILLSS website going live in late Fall, 2017.