NASBE Calls for New Assessment Systems That Balance Accountability With Improvements in Teaching and Learning

Oct 26, 2009, 08:30 ET from National Association of State Boards of Education

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001, standardized assessments went from being one method of determining the academic achievement of a student, school, or district to being the only metric that mattered. What happened in this rush for accountability was the creation of a multiplicity of assessments that fail to adequately guide teachers in helping students learn.


The National Association of State Boards of Education's (NASBE) new study group report, Reform at a Crossroads: A Call for Balanced Systems of Assessment and Accountability, examines the need for rethinking assessments to create a new paradigm for measuring the skills and knowledge graduates need to succeed.

"The need for accountability in public education is an accepted premise of the day," said NASBE Executive Director Brenda Welburn. "The reliance on standardized tests, however, has fallen short of its intent, and children are still being left behind. Our assessment systems must not only measure what students know, they must be able to provide educators and students with useful feedback for improving teaching and learning."

The study group determined that not only have advances in technology, assessment design, and research on learning made these changes feasible, but they are absolutely necessary to truly prepare students for the challenges of school and beyond. Ultimately, the paradigm needs to shift to include a system of formative assessments that dictates that information gained from testing should ultimately help improve learning.

For policymakers, it is essential to ensure that teachers have the knowledge and skills needed to use frequent assessment as part of classroom instruction to modify and refine students' conceptual development and skills. The study group's recommendations for state boards include:

  • Systems must be designed to include assessments of learning and assessments for learning.
  • States should collect qualitative and quantitative measures, including student growth over time across the entire achievement continuum, as well as other indicators of school progress.
  • States must establish consistent teacher development standards that position assessment literacy as a major component for teacher licensure, accreditation for preparation programs, and teacher evaluations.

For an executive summary or buy the report, go to

The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America's state and territorial boards of education. NASBE exists to strengthen State Boards as the preeminent educational policymaking bodies for citizens and students. For more, visit

SOURCE National Association of State Boards of Education