Guidebook to Including Students with Disabilities and English Learners in Assessments

Lesson 9. Focus on continuous improvement of the assessment system

Developing and implementing assessments that include all students, especially students with disabilities, English learners, and English learners with disabilities, requires continuous evaluation of progress and a devotion to the continuous improvement of policies and procedures as well as assessments themselves. Attention needs to be paid to new research and to progress made by other states.

NCEO addressed the need for continuous improvement, monitoring, and training to ensure the quality of the overall assessment and instruction system in its Principle 6 (see Appendix F). It identified four characteristics of a system that embeds continuous improvement:

Characteristic 6.1. The quality, implementation, and consequences of student participation decisions are monitored and analyzed, and the data are used to evaluate and improve the quality of the assessment process at the school, district, and state levels.

Characteristic 6.2. States and districts provide training to multiple stakeholders to improve their assessment literacy, which in turn improves decisions about the use of available assessment options.

Characteristic 6.3. The use that is made of reports on assessment results and the impact that accountability decisions have on educational processes and student learning are monitored to determine the adjustments needed to improve the accountability system.

Characteristic 6.4. The quality of assessment features is continuously evaluated and improved by applying information gathered about the use and impact of assessment results and by responding to developments in the field of measurement. (Thurlow et al., 2016, p. 20)

Further detail on each of these characteristics is provided in NCEO’s Principles and Characteristics of Inclusive Assessment Systems in a Changing Assessment Landscape (see Lesson 9 Resources).

Lesson 9 Resources

AERA, APA, & NCME (2014). Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. .

NCEO (2016). Principles and Characteristics of Inclusive Assessment Systems in a Changing Assessment Landscape (NCEO Report 400). PDF