Assessment Inventory helps schools test “smarter”

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August 24, 2017 – The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education today released information from a pilot program to help school districts test “smarter” rather than more often. The Assessment Inventory Project (AIP), a joint effort with the Georgia Department of Education, helped five school districts by providing them with tools and a facilitated process to determine which tests were most helpful to improve student achievement.

Currently, state law requires students in grades 3 through 8 to take an end-of-grade assessment in English language arts and mathematics, while students in grades 5 and 8 are also assessed in science and social studies. High school students take an end-of-course assessment for each of the eight courses designated by the State Board of Education, but school districts typically have additional tests they use for other local purposes.

“School districts desire to eliminate redundant testing and use their assessments in smarter ways,” said Dr. Steve Dolinger, President of the Georgia Partnership. “This pilot program has helped these five districts facilitate a discussion about how best to use their assessments to ensure greater student success. We have been encouraged by the impact of this process and hope more districts will use these tools to evaluate their own assessment program.”

Matt Thompson, Director of Student & Data Services for Barrow County School System, echoed the positive results Barrow got out of the pilot program noting, “The Assessment Inventory Project helped us to identify weaknesses, redundancies, and areas of poor validity in many areas of our assessment program. We were able to take the recommendations from the AIP and start to build a more comprehensive and efficient assessment process that truly gets at how best to evaluate our students learning.”

The Georgia Partnership is now working with the Georgia Department of Education, and regional and district leaders, to support the availability of the resource tools statewide.

“As this was such an impactful study, GaDOE is working with the Georgia Partnership to develop local and regional supports to make this resource available to all districts,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “I’m committed to continuing to set that example at the state level. We have worked to reduce the amount of state assessments students take, and will continue to work with partners to reduce it further. Now is the time to shift our focus back to teaching and learning – the true purpose of education – and work together to ensure a responsible system of assessment that informs instruction, fosters innovation and serves our students well.”

All school districts can access these inventory tools from the Georgia Partnership website:

Key Findings from Barrow County School System

  • Percentage of time a typical student spent on testing ranged across K-12 from 0.62% to 2.43%, with an average of approximately 1.75% of total instructional time spent on formal testing.
  • BCSS spent about 3% of non-personnel budget, and 0.35% of total budget, on direct and indirect testing costs.
  • Click to view full presentation of Key Findings and Recommendations.

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