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U.S. Education Department Seeks Advice on Testing-System Reviews

The U.S. Department of Education, which paused peer review of state assessment systems in December, now wants the public's input on how to improve its process.

In a blog post today, federal officials say they want some informal advice—particularly from assessment experts—as they seek to retool how they review state testing systems. These technical expert-panel reviews of state tests have been a part of federal oversight for nearly two decades under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the most recent version of which is the No Child Left Behind Act.

In light of the move to a new generation of tests linked to college- and career-ready standards (including the common core), the department wanted to rethink how it reviews and approves state tests. The new reviews will pertain to the tests being developed by the two common-testing consortia, and to individual state tests for those that break away from the common tests.

The feds are seeking input on questions including:

  • What types of evidence can and should a state provide to demonstrate that its system meets the elements of a high-quality assessment system?
  • What benchmarks or rubrics can the Education Department establish to help evaluate the evidence submitted by states?
  • Are there components of the department's current process that can or should be revised or are there aspects the department should add?
  • Are there models or best practices in conducting peer reviews that are applicable and practical for state assessment systems?

The Education Department wants responses emailed to [email protected] by September 30, with the subject line "Title I Peer Review."

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