New Guidance Supports States, Districts in Promoting Assessment Literacy through ESSA

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National Task Force on Assessment Education, in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers, releases new guidance to provide recommendations and language for professional development and parent and student engagement around assessments

In accordance with Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provisions emphasizing the development and administration of high-quality assessment systems, the National Task Force on Assessment Education, in conjunction with the Council of Chief State School Officers(CCSSO), today released ESSA and Assessment Literacy: Serving the Education Ecosystem, a guidance document for states and districts developing their ESSA plans and applications. The document helps states and districts discover provisions and flexibility in ESSA that can be used to promote assessment literacy and develop rich assessment systems. It outlines specific policies, practices, and language that improve individual student learning, ensure greater education equity, and maximize instructional time.

Developed by the Task Force, which is convened by the global not-for-profit educational services organization NWEA, the guidance document notes that “schools can use quality assessment practices to help overcome inequities, narrow achievement gaps, promote universal high school graduation, help struggling learners find their own success, ensure digital competence, and make sure all students are ready for college or workplace training.”

“Assessments are a necessary part of our education system to help improve learning for every child,” said Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO. “CCSSO is proud to participate in the National Task Force on Assessment Education and create guidance that every state and local school district can use to promote assessment literacy among all stakeholders during the transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act.”

The work of the Task Force is aligned with CCSSO’s ongoing commitment to make sure every assessment administered in school is high-quality, coherent, and meaningful to students, parents, and teachers. Saroja Warner, director of educator preparation initiatives at CCSSO, serves as a member of the Task Force and co-authored the guidance document.

Recommendations include auditing assessment systems to eliminate redundant tests, providing professional learning opportunities to teachers and school leaders that foster assessment literacy, and improving the capacity of parents to understand assessment results in order to more effectively advocate for their children. The document offers sample language that states can consider for their ESSA plans and applications.

The Task Force, launched in 2015, works to address critical gaps in assessment education in teacher preparation programs and includes education leaders from both pre-service and in-service organizations. It is part of the Assessment Literacy initiative from NWEA, which also includes the website that offers resources to foster understanding of the role of assessment in learning. The Task Force is comprised of two advisors and 23 educators from 17 states, representing school districts, state departments of education, universities, and education organizations.

“This document exemplifies what the Task Force aims to do and why NWEA has convened these educators: to be a national voice on the importance of understanding and utilizing assessment to ensure the success of all students,” said Kelly Goodrich, vice president of policy and advocacy at NWEA. “We’re grateful for their dedication to providing guidance to states and schools of education, and to supporting the development of tools and resources to better prepare teachers to use assessment.”

Read the guidance document, ESSA and Assessment Literacy: Serving the Education Ecosystem, and learn more about the Task Force at

About NWEA
Northwest Evaluation Association™ (NWEA™) is a global not-for-profit educational services organization with nearly 40 years of expertise in providing innovative assessment solutions, including our flagship interim growth assessment, Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®); our progress monitoring and skills mastery tool, Skills Navigator®; and the OECD Test for Schools (based on PISA). More than 8,500 schools, school districts, and education agencies in the US and abroad trust us to offer pre-K – 12 assessments that accurately measure student growth and inform instruction; professional development that fosters educators’ ability to accelerate student learning; and research that supports assessment validity and data interpretation. Educators currently use NWEA assessments with over nine million students worldwide. Visit to find out how NWEA can partner with you to help all kids learn.

About the Council of Chief State School Officers
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.


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Jessica Schwartz Hahn
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