First-of-its kind, innovative assessment system coming to Alaska

June 11, 2021 NWEA News

NWEA will partner with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development to implement a balanced assessment system that supports excellent instruction and fulfills federal accountability requirements


Today, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) announced its new partnership with NWEA to implement a first-of-its kind, innovative assessment system that connects fall and winter interim assessments and the spring end-of-year test for improved efficiency, cohesion, and impact on teaching and learning. This partnership is reflective of Alaska’s commitment to developing creative solutions that meet the needs of Alaska educators, teachers, students, families, and community members and of NWEA’s longstanding partnership with 49 of 54 Alaska districts using MAP Growth data to inform teaching and learning.

“Actionable data on where students are at and what they are ready to learn next is critical to teachers, especially in the post-COVID era, and so is a systems-level view for educational leaders and policymakers seeking to support Alaska’s families and schools,” said Jason Mendenhall, President of State Solutions at NWEA. “We are excited to partner with Alaska to increase the connection across assessments serving both of these critical needs so that collective impact on student learning outcomes is maximized.”

Alaska school districts will administer MAP Growth interim assessments in the fall and winter to measure student performance independent of grade level. In the spring, they will administer a summative test that produces not only summative proficiency scores for accountability, but also MAP Growth scores, so districts can measure fall-to-spring academic growth without administering MAP Growth in the spring.

The Alaska Innovative Assessment System will:

  • Streamline testing and maximize efficiency. A connected system provides a more seamless experience between interim and end-of-year assessments for students and educators and once operational, reduces testing events.
  • Increase coherence across interim and end-of-year tests so educators can drive students toward consistent, challenging learning targets.
  • Amplify and accelerate student learning. Alaska’s innovative assessment system will give educators, students, and parents timely, meaningful insights on student strengths and areas of need. The data informs the learning and teaching process to support students in reaching their highest academic potential.
  • Support excellent educators with professional learning and resources that make data actionable and advance effective instructional practices.
  • Increase opportunity for students and schools to show growth. Fall-to-spring and year-to-year growth data, along with access to normative data, are available to both districts and DEED. Within-year growth data enables students and schools—including those below proficiency— to show and celebrate growth and provides a more complete view of school performance to districts, schools, and DEED as they work to ensure equitable educational rigor and resources for all Alaska students.


Alaska schools will begin using the new assessment system starting in fall of 2021.

To learn more about the partnership, view Alaska DEED’s announcement:’s%20innovative%20assessment%20to%20improve%20value%20of%20English%20Language%20Arts%20and%20Math%20testing%20for%20students%20educators%20and%20families.pdf.

About NWEA

NWEA® (formerly known as Northwest Evaluation Association) is a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators worldwide by creating assessment solutions that precisely measure growth and proficiency—and provide insights to help tailor instruction. Educators in more than 10,000 schools, districts, and education agencies in 146 countries rely on our flagship interim assessment, MAP® Growth™; our reading fluency and comprehension assessment, MAP® Reading Fluency™ ; our personalized learning tool powered by Khan Academy, MAP® Accelerator™; and our state solutions that combine growth and proficiency measurement. Visit to find out how NWEA can partner with you to help all kids learn.

Contact: Simona Beattie, Sr. Manager, Public Relations, or 971.361.9526

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