Making Decisions Using Assessment Data in the Time of COVID-19 and Beyond
The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed all aspects of teaching and learning over the past two school years; and consequently, administration of summative assessments in spring 2021 looks different than most years. And yet, understanding the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on student learning is fundamental for being able to develop responsive supports that address the needs of all students, particularly those most affected by the disruptions to learning in the 2019–20 and 2020–21 school years.
To meet this need, educators should resist the temptation to conclude that summative assessment data holds no value this year and should instead bring a different mindset to reviewing and responding to assessment data from the spring of 2021. This mindset shift requires that educators and education leaders revisit the stakes and consequences associated with different assessments, consider multiple measures including Opportunity to Learn (OTL) data and information provided by students, families, and teachers to ensure a fuller picture of the performance of our schools and districts.
Our hope is that educators will be able to use this period as an opportunity to re-evaluate their assessment practices and make important shifts toward strengthening assessment data-use practices, making lasting improvements to decision-making, equity, teaching, and — ultimately —student learning and success.