Identifying and managing the impact of the pandemic on nation’s classrooms remains a top priority. Educators work tirelessly to accelerate learning, while ensuring students’ social and emotional well-being. To no surprise, recent data shows significant declines in students’ academic proficiency as a result of missed instruction. However, thanks to a historic federal investment in education, schools have an opportunity to drive bold improvement efforts.
Guided by a belief that this funding has the potential to dramatically improve learning experiences, the Rennie Center and EdResearch partnered with five Massachusetts districts to improve alignment of their existing programs and investments with evidence-based strategies. The research revealed five key takeaways from their district partnership work that can help district leaders use evidence to cut through the noise, simplify decision-making, and improve students’ results.
We have taken the liberty of applying them to our work in assessment and accountability and consider them equally beneficial:
- Narrow your focus: Prioritize high-leverage priorities and connect them.
- Prioritize belonging and connection: Positive relationships between frontline educators and the state and parents and districts make a difference in student learning.
- Provide robust support for assessment and accountability implementation: High-quality assessments have the most significant impact when combined with ongoing professional learning.
- Rethink traditional approaches to assessment and accountability: Aligning assessments/tools with evidence can help schools maximize the power of assessments.
- Focus on a limited set of actionable data: Prioritizing the use of high-leverage data points and ensuring sufficient data training can help combat data overwhelm.