Massachusetts Becomes First State to Qualify to Test New and Innovative Ways to Assess Student Achievement Next School Year

Massachusetts Becomes First State to Qualify to Test New and Innovative Ways to Assess Student Achievement Next School Year

April 24, 2020

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today that Massachusetts is the first state to gain approval to take part in the innovative assessments pilot program for the 2020-2021 school year. Part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) program is designed to encourage local involvement in the development of the next generation of student assessments.

"This important pilot program provides states the opportunity to rethink assessing student achievement in ways that are more relevant to what they are learning," said Secretary DeVos. "I look forward to seeing this program's impact on student achievement as more states, like Massachusetts, take the bold step to do things differently to better serve students."

As part of the program, states can pilot new and innovative assessments on a small scale, avoid double-testing students on both pilot and statewide exams, and develop strategies for implementing such innovative assessments statewide over time.

The objective of Massachusetts' new innovative science assessment is to build a new form of assessment incorporating technology-enhanced performance tasks that are more engaging for students and signal the state's focus on deeper learning in classrooms. Under the IADA, the state will develop new science assessments for Grades 5 and 8, combining a streamlined version of the current state science assessment with interactive, engaging, and authentic science performance tasks.

To participate in the pilot, states must apply and demonstrate how their innovative assessments are developed in collaboration with local stakeholders, aligned to challenging state academic standards and accessible to all students through use of principles of universal design for learning, among other requirements.

Massachusetts joins four other states that were already granted IADA flexibility: Georgia and North Carolina in 2019, and Louisiana and New Hampshire in 2018.