States, Districts and Education Leaders Invited to Contribute to Next-Generation Assessments Wiki

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http://www.PearsonAssessments.com/NextGenRoadmap Open to Input Through May 20; Resulting Document Will Deliver Definitive Guide for States Transitioning to Online Assessment

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Pearson's Assessment & Information group has launched http://www.PearsonAssessments.com/NextGenRoadmap, an open, online Wiki intended to engage and encourage input from professionals and organizations who are addressing the challenge of moving from paper-and-pencil to online assessments. Many individual state policies dictate the move to online assessments, as does membership in both Race to the Top assessment consortia, SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

All input obtained through the Wiki will be considered for inclusion in "Considerations for Next-Generation Assessments: A Roadmap to 2014," to be published in June for use by policymakers, state education technology and assessment leaders, national education leaders, and other education organizations to guide effective planning that will result in a successful transition to online assessments.

The site, http://www.PearsonAssessments.com/NextGenRoadmap, offers links to helpful resources and is currently populated with five recommended steps for a successful transition, as well as a case study of Pearson's work with Virginia, which began shifting to online assessments in 2001, and is now testing over 95% of high school students online. The Wiki content has also been reviewed by external thought leaders who are deeply involved and invested in digital learning and the move to online assessments.

All stakeholders are encouraged to contribute--whether it be by adding, changing or deleting content--including state and district level staff involved in transitions and independent organizations who share a commitment to helping states. Contributions to the Wiki will be reviewed within 24 hours of submission and posted on the site. The Wiki will be live through May 20, 2011. Following that date, changes will be reviewed by Pearson and external partners, and an official roadmap will be published at the same URL, http://www.PearsonAssessments.com/NextGenRoadmap, for public access.

"Our vision for this initiative--from the launch of the Wiki to the first published version of the roadmap--is to help states navigate, and mitigate, the many interdependent issues and challenges they will face as they transition to online assessments," said Shilpi Niyogi, Executive Vice President, National Services, Pearson Assessment & Information. "The growing emphasis on digital learning has opened the door to new potential in how assessments can enhance and personalize learning in this country. We are at a crucial crossroads right now and want to provide tools that can foster the smoothest path to success. This roadmap will help states determine if they are properly equipped and prepared to develop and implement their own transition plan."

Background on Online Assessments
Assessment of student learning continues to play a central role in reform. Parents, teachers, education leaders, taxpayers, and policymakers all continue to demand more information about what is and isn't working in our education system. Rich, timely data on student performance and growth is a vital source of information for stakeholders seeking to ensure all American students are prepared to compete and succeed in a global economy.

At least part of the growing desire to effectively deploy digital innovations in education generally, and in assessment specifically, is a push to make things "faster, better and more affordable." Potential next-generation assessment innovations range from more dynamic question types and online delivery to artificial intelligence-powered, automated scoring technologies.

As a result of state policies or by way of participation in one of the Race to the Top assessment consortia, many states are considering how best to transition to online assessments. How states effectively plan and manage this transition will be key to success.

Pearson currently works with 14 states and numerous national and international education organizations to develop and deliver online assessments. Drawing on this experience, Pearson also offers a unique and practical understanding of the transitional strategies necessary to support long-term sustainability and to achieve the larger goals of improving teaching and personalizing learning. Considerations include:    

  • Utilizing surveys to determine online readiness
  • Identifying technology requirements
  • Planning for transitional strategies
  • Outlining "cost of ownership" and financial issues
  • Planning for infrastructure needs
  • Addressing interoperability

"Collaboration and continuous learning is at the heart of this initiative. Open sharing of information is essential for states to make a timely and effective transition," added Niyogi. "The Wiki kicks off the effort and is intended to encourage state leaders to come together to meet this national challenge."

About Pearson
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, provides teacher licensure testing, teacher professional development, career certification programs, testing and assessment products, innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems that set the standard for the industry. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information about the Assessment & Information group of Pearson, visit http://www.pearsonassessments.com/.

For more information, press only:
Adam Gaber, Pearson, 800-745-8489, adam.gaber@pearson.com, @Apgaber (Twitter)
Follow developments on the Wiki and Roadmap @NextGenAssess (Twitter)

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Adam Gaber
Pearson
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