NWEA Releases Policy Recommendations for Assessment and Accountability in a Post-COVID World

NWEA Releases Policy Recommendations for Assessment and Accountability in a Post-COVID World

Portland, Ore. — July 14, 2020 — As education leaders face the challenges of reopening schools after the unprecedented disruption of COVID-19, NWEA is releasing state and federal policy recommendations for mitigating learning losses and reimagining a learning environment where students can thrive.

The policy brief, Assessment and Accountability in a Post-Coronavirus World, discusses the opportunity for lawmakers to explore how our assessment systems and accountability infrastructure can better serve all communities, and the vital role that statewide data can play in illustrating a clear path for lawmakers and educators as states move into uncertain phases of reopening guidance and implementation.

“COVID-19 has presented leaders with a unique opportunity to reimagine education,” says Aaliyah Samuel, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs and Partnerships at NWEA. “Instead of enacting short-term solutions, state and federal policies should focus on reimagining our educational system into one that reduces inequities and best equips future generations with the skills they need to thrive within the modern economic system.”

NWEA’s COVID-19 policy recommendations include state and federal guidance that can help schools move from recovery to reform.

State Policies

  1. Invest in remote proctoring. Hybrid learning is here to stay, and tests administered online are a necessary option. States must examine research into questions of privacy and security.
  2. Build in equity and accessibility. Assessment design with equity and accessibility in mind will ensure students with disabilities can access instruction aligned with data-informed individualized education plan (IEP) goals.
  3. Support innovative assessment. Leverage new arguments for redefining the implementation and uses of statewide tests moving forward.
  4. Be intentional about growth and proficiency. States can reevaluate how they measure and evaluate academic growth and how it’s weighted in tandem with measures of academic proficiency.
  5. Build transparency with seasonal learning trajectories. State leaders can develop transparency and trust with stakeholders using learning trajectories.
  6. Use long-term growth for school improvement goals. Measure student growth over two years, instead of just one to better understand how diverse communities are impacted by the global health pandemic.

Federal Policies

  1. Fund assessments aligned with distance and hybrid learning. Incentivize new approaches to testing better aligned with hybrid and distance learning.
  2. Incentivize research partnerships. Incentivize collaborations between states and research institutions to identify optimal methods for addressing the challenges of distance and hybrid learning.
  3. Maintain integrity to accountability laws. Refrain from providing blanket waiver opportunities for spring 2021 testing. Instead, apply a continuum of targeted flexibilities for accountability provisions and maintain integrity to the spirit and intent of the law.
  4. Incentivize reduction of test redundancies. To account for changing needs in summative testing systems with regard to innovation and reducing test redundancy, the US Department of Education should consider flexibilities for peer review standards.


View the Assessment and Accountability in a Post-Coronavirus World policy brief:


About NWEA

NWEA® 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 progress monitoring and skills mastery tool, MAP® Skills™; our reading fluency and comprehension assessment, MAP® Reading Fluency™ ; our personalized learning tool powered by Khan Academy, MAP® Accelerator™; and our new assessment solution that combines growth and proficiency measurement. Visit NWEA.org to find out how NWEA can partner with you to help all kids learn.

Contact: Simona Beattie, Sr. Manager, Public Relations, simona.beattie@nwea.org or 971.361.9526.