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Turning Preparation Into Opportunity—School Leadership Groups Issue New Online Assessment Report and Planning Tool

Washington, DC (January 11, 2017) – To take advantage of the educational promise of online assessments, CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and NSBA (the National School Boards Association) today released a new report and planning tool for school leaders.

The report, Online Assessment:From Readiness to Opportunity, shares the recent history and current state of online assessments, spotlights best practices being used in districts, and details the opportunities for the K-12 education community. In turn, the Online Assessment Planning Tool gives district leaders the guidance for building effective online assessment strategies, as well as measuring and communicating their efforts over time. The new resources are supported by Learning First Alliance.

The new online assessment report and planning tool build on Raising the BAR: Becoming Assessment Ready Toolkit – a resource developed by CoSN, Education Networks of America (ENA), and eLearn Institute to ensure all districts make a successful online transition.

“Online assessments are no longer the exception – they are commonplace in districts today. With this innovative shift, however, come promising opportunities that can further enrich learning environments,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “These new resources are important for school leaders to ensure they put the right pieces in place to use online assessments effectively and powerfully.”
“Moving from online ‘readiness to opportunity’ takes the collective leadership of superintendents, technology administrators and school boards,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “We are excited to expand our work with CoSN and NSBA on this important front and provide 21st century resources to school district leaders.”
“Today’s successful school leaders recognize the power of digital resources to support teaching and learning,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director and CEO, National School Boards Association (NSBA). “These resources highlight best practices across a variety of online assessments and offer an interactive tool to help districts identify their level of readiness to select, implement, and utilize the results produced by such assessments.”
The new report provides an update and explains the different approaches being taken by the national assessment consortia, Smarter Balanced and PARCC, and discusses the impact of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on technology and online assessments. It also shares the story and efforts of the Houston Independent School District and Santa Fe Public Schools, and provides school systems the following nine recommendations for carrying out successful efforts in establishing and using online assessments:

Create a cross-functional strategic planning team;
Secure funding sources for modern learning environments;
Embed technology in instructional practice;
Invest in robust and ongoing professional development for teachers, administrators, and technical staff;
Build out a robust infrastructure;
Select devices that meet instructional needs and assessment consortia requirements;
Communicate – a lot;
Pay attention to logistics; and
Prepare to use the assessment data effectively.
The Online Assessment Planning Tool, meanwhile, draws from best practices within districts nationwide that are building a culture of digital instructional materials, classroom assessments, and data to promote personalized learning. The tool references a range of planning strategies, both gradual and immediate, that schools can consider based on their needs and overall goals for moving beyond traditional paper-based methods.

To explore the new resources, please visit: cosn.org/assessment.

The online assessment report and planning tool further expand CoSN, AASA, and NSBA’s joint commitment to advancing digital learning in U.S. districts. In 2014, the groups came together to form Leading the Digital Leap – an effort that focuses on how to build and lead digital learning efforts. Each organization has contributed its own resources and insights to inform the initiative and make meaningful differences at each level of school system leadership.

Learn more about Leading the Digital Leap at: leaddigitalleap.org.