“Better and Fairer” Tests: U.S. Ed. Department’s Proposal to Reduce Burden


Fact Sheet: Education Department Releases Proposed Regulations to Encourage Better and Fairer Tests, Reduce Burden of Testing 

One essential part of educating students successfully is assessing their progress. Done well and thoughtfully, assessments are tools for learning and promoting equity. They provide necessary information for educators, families, the public, and students themselves to measure progress and improve outcomes for all learners. Done poorly, in excess, or without clear purpose, however, they take valuable time away from teaching and learning, draining creative approaches from our classrooms.

ESSA presents an opportunity to reclaim the promise of a high-quality, well-rounded education for every student by reducing the focus on testing, while ensuring critical protections for all students. Today, as part of its ongoing effort to seize that opportunity through implementation of the law, the U.S. Department of Education is releasing two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Together, they implement provisions of Title I of ESSA that seek to ensure states administer high-quality assessments that are worth taking and provide meaningful data about student success and equity, while also encouraging states and districts to continue to push the field of assessment forward through innovation.

Ensuring Fairer and Better Tests Under Title I-A

The first proposed regulation focuses on ensuring states continue to administer tests that are fair measures of student achievement for all students, with particular focus on ensuring states appropriately capture and measure the progress of English Learners and students with disabilities.

Creating Better, More Innovative, Next-Generation Assessments

The second proposed regulation establishes a rigorous, but achievable, process for a small set of states to take advantage of  new innovative demonstration authority under Title I, Part B, which will enable up to seven states to re-think their testing systems and pilot new approaches—to develop the next generation of high-quality statewide assessments.

Upon publication in the Federal Register, each NPRM will be open for public comment for 60 days. The Department welcomes public comments on all aspects of the proposed regulations, which are posted here until publication in the Federal Register.

For more information on the proposed regulations, click here.

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