Assessment to Support Competency-Based PathwaysReport as inadecuate

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Achieve, Inc.

Across the nation, state and local leaders have embraced two critical goals for public education: quality and equity. Students should be better prepared than they have been in the past; the goal now is for all students to graduate from high school ready for college and career. All students, regardless of race, economic background or geographic location, should reach or exceed college and career readiness. A number of states, districts and schools have determined that competency-based pathways (CBP) are a promising way to meet these goals. A core tenet of CBP is that accurate, credible and useful student assessment information plays an essential role in supporting learning. Assessments should be a meaningful learning experience for students, provide rich information to educators so they can provide targeted support to students, and send students and parents clear signals about students' readiness for next steps. Yet, little practical guidance is currently available for those designing assessments associated with CBP systems. For example, can the basic principles and practices of assessment design be applied to CBP systems without modification? What is it about CBP that makes the design of comprehensive assessment systems challenging? Are there unique considerations for validating CBP assessment systems? This document addresses the role of summative assessment in supporting CBP, clarifies key assessment challenges, and provides examples and recommendations that will be useful in guiding those who wish to design and implement assessment systems to support CBP.

Descriptors: Competency Based Education, Student Evaluation, Summative Evaluation, Educational Assessment, Elementary Secondary Education, Standardized Tests, Test Construction, Testing, Test Results, Test Validity, College Readiness, Career Readiness

Achieve, Inc. 1775 Eye Street NW Suite 410, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-419-1540; Fax: 202-828-0911; Web site:

Author: Domaleski, Chris; Gong, Brian; Hess, Karin; Marion, Scott; Curl, Cory; Peltzman, Alissa


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