Designing a Comprehensive Assessment System

An assessment system must provide decision-makers at all levels with sound information on which they can base their decisions in support of learning for all students. A comprehensive system includes different types of assessment tools and processes, used for different purposes at different levels of the system: national, state, district, school, and classroom.

This paper, written by Deb Sigman, Director of the Center on Standards and Assessment Implementation, and Marie Mancuso, Co-Director of the West Comprehensive Center, conceptualizes what a comprehensive system that is balanced and aligned might comprise. It also identifies what actions states, districts, and schools can take to create a comprehensive assessment system.

Organized into four sections, the paper:

  • Describes the federal response to recent testing concerns
  • Details the purposes and characteristics of a comprehensive assessment system
  • Outlines concrete steps that policymakers and stakeholders might consider in developing a comprehensive assessment system
  • Provides examples from three state education agencies engaged in creating a comprehensive assessment system

The paper also provides a list of online assessment resources.