Potential Principles for Building High-Quality State Assessment Systems

The following principles are drawn from the report of the Expert Panel on Assessment of the Forum on Educational Accountability and represent a launching point from which conference discussions on what is necessary to construct high-quality assessment and accountability systems may begin.

1. Ensure all students have equitable and adequate access to the resources needed to succeed.

2. Construct comprehensive and coherent systems of state and local assessments of student learning that:
•    work together to support instruction, educational improvement and accountability 
•    use multiple indicators at multiple points in time
•    link assessment to instruction and curriculum
•    strengthen teacher capacity to assess.

3. Shape assessment systems so they are appropriate for a diverse student population.

4. Use multiple sources of evidence and describe performance in terms of status, improvement and growth.

5. Ensure fair, valid and reliable evaluations in accountability decisions that:
•    include all subject areas in comprehensive assessment systems
•    gather and report disaggregated information by groups
•    target the nature and form of school and district assistance based on specific identified needs
•    ensure decisions about individuals are made using the full range of assessment information.

6. Use assessment and accountability information to improve schools and student learning.

7. Hold schools and districts accountable for taking reasonable steps toward improvement, as well as for rates of improvement in student learning.

The full report is available at www.edaccountability.org (under reports).