Melanie Olmstead

ASCD Advocates for Multiple Measures

No student, teacher, or school's performance should be determined using a single measure. As Congress attempts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), it has the opportunity to fix the currently exclusive emphasis on state assessments as the sole means of measuring student performance and school quality.

ASCD recently provided the House education committee with a letter (PDF) including its recommendations for accountability systems that are based on more than just standardized test scores. The letter commends the committee for providing states with the flexibility to use additional indicators of student proficiency in H.R.5, its ESEA reauthorization bill, but asks to add language to the bill that will take into account the broad array of measures beyond standardized test scores. Additionally, the letter pushes for the committee to incorporate language that supports professional development and educator effectiveness.

ASCD's June edition of Policy Points (PDF) also highlights the importance of multiple measures when evaluating student, teacher, and school performance. Students benefit from multiple-measure assessments because they are given more opportunities to show what they know and what they can do while also providing a more detailed understanding of their struggles, which allows for more frequent and immediate interventions. Schools benefit when measured through multiple assessments because graduation rates and school climate surveys are as important as standardized test scores. Using multiple-measure assessments alleviates each measure's limitations and provides more comprehensive evaluations of students, teachers, and schools.

Become an advocate for education! Join Educator Advocates to get informed about the education policy and politics that affect your day-to-day work; get involved by joining with colleagues to help lawmakers make the best education decisions; and make a difference for our schools and our students.

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