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ESSA Update: Summary of Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority

• Christy Hovanetz, Ph.D. and Karla Phillips

April 2, 2018 was the U.S. Department of Education’s deadline for applications for the innovative assessment pilot. We’re excited to dig into applications submitted by Louisiana, New Hampshire and Puerto Rico to test out new approaches to assessment. We expect the Department to offer states a second opportunity to apply in the next several years. We’ll learn a lot from watching this initial round of states. In the meantime, states and other partners may benefit from our new refresher, Summary of Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority,  that addresses key questions including:

  • What is the innovative assessment pilot?
  • How should states considering the pilot proceed?
  • What can ALL states do now to improve and streamline their assessment systems?

ExcelinEd’s vision is that future state assessment systems will better support the growing transition to student-centered learning. Ideally, these systems will be adaptive, easy-to-access, and provide multiple, real-time measures of student progress toward mastery of state standards. It is our hope that these assessments will be designed to complement new and different forms of teaching and learning as they evolve, including personalized learning.

We recognize that overhauling assessment systems must be done incrementally and requires a long-term commitment. The Innovative Assessment and Accountability Demonstration Authority (“Innovative Assessment Pilot”) under the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states with an opportunity to take a crucial first step toward next generation assessments.

About the authors

Christy Hovanetz, Ph.D.

Christy Hovanetz is a Senior Policy Fellow for ExcelinEd focusing on school accountability policies. Dr. Hovanetz served as the Assistant Commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Education and Assistant Deputy Commissioner at the Florida Department of Education. She has worked in education policy for the state of Florida since 1999 serving as the Director of Evaluation and Reporting, Director of Reading First and a Policy Analyst for Governor Jeb Bush. She graduated summa cum laude from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education with a minor in mathematics and is a certified teacher in the state of Minnesota. She earned her Masters of Public Administration at the University of Minnesota and a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University.

Karla Phillips

Karla is Policy Director for Next Generation Learning at ExcelinEd. Previously, she served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Superintendent of Policy and Programs at the Arizona Department of Education. Karla also served as the Education Policy Advisor for Governor Brewer and as the Vice-Chair of Arizona’s Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. Her experience includes serving as Director of State Government Relations for Arizona State University (ASU) and as a senior policy advisor for Arizona’s House of Representatives. Karla received her B.A. from Indiana University and an M.P.A from Arizona State University.