Districts Reducing Testing through Inventory Process

Friday, March 11, 2016Printer-friendly version

In 2015, Achieve provided targeted support to districts and support organizations in Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio, and Tennessee to complete assessment inventories, make recommendations, and take action to streamline assessment systems and ensure that they are coherent and high quality. Today, we’re pleased to release a new report that tells their stories, which we hope will show that districts around the country can proactively and effectively address the overtesting issue. These districts have taken real, concrete steps to reduce the testing burden on students while ensuring that educators have the valuable information they need to improve student performance.

The assessment streamlining that took place in these featured states and districts is impressive. The West Aurora School District 129 in Illinois identified two assessments to eliminate and made an additional assessment optional. Buckeye Valley in Ohio eliminated several assessments and offered schools the option to further reduce the number of administrations of another assessment. Knox County Schools in Tennessee used the results of the process to increase and improve their communication with parents, teachers, and students about the changes in the state’s assessment program. These and many other meaningful changes are detailed in full in the new report.

We also encourage you to check out more great insights from the districts about the inventory process as well as a recent news article about a Connecticut district’s reduction in testing.

“Completing the assessment inventory increased our assessment literacy and changed the conversation about assessments; it helped us develop a common vocabulary and come to agreement on what we mean by terms such as ‘mastery’ and ‘proficiency,’ which aligns with our work around teacher evaluation and student-growth metrics.”

-Kay Dugan, Assistant Superintendent for Learning, Bensenville School District 2, Illinois (Source)


Achieve’s Student Assessment Inventory for School Districts

What is the Student Assessment Inventory for School Districts?

Across the country, education leaders are adding their voices to the call to address the issue of overtesting in schools. To assist districts in ensuring they have a coherent assessment strategy in place and only administer tests that are useful and of high quality, Achieve developed the Student Assessment Inventory for School Districts in 2014. Designed from a student perspective, the process can be used by education leaders to make decisions about what amount of testing is appropriate and to be more transparent with parents about the testing in schools.

“We chose to participate in the pilot to address our ongoing need to increase assessment literacy and the use of high-quality assessments to make informed instructional decisions to better meet the needs of all students.”

-Jean Korder, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Urbana School District 116, Illinois (Source)


If you’re a district leader interested in using the Student Assessment Inventory for School Districts, here are a few resources that you might find helpful along the way. Remember that the tool is free to use and adapt to best work in local contexts. Please contact Jacob Mishook with any questions you may have along the way.

Training Materials

A series of facilitators’ guides and ready-to-use PowerPoints to assist in training sessions around setting the context, inventory planning, stakeholder mapping, and communications and messaging.

District Guidance

A guidance document that provides additional support and answers to key questions district and community leaders may have as they seek to carry out a meaningful and actionable inventory process.

Sample Focus Group and Survey Materials

Guidance and materials for district leaders as they design and use focus groups and surveys to understand the perspectives of teachers, parents, and students during the inventory process.

Considerations for Special Student Groups

Considerations to keep in mind for the assessment needs of English Language Learners and students with disabilities