March 10, 2023
Math and English teachers from School District U-46 and two other districts participated in a workshop to improve how state assessment scores are reported to educators, parents, and other stakeholders.
The workshop was part of the Enhanced Item Release Program created by New Meridian, a nonprofit assessment design company. The program goes beyond the common practice of releasing sample test questions and “maps” those questions to how students in a state performed. The resulting reports provide examples of what students likely can and cannot answer correctly, which can help improve instructional planning and teacher-parent communication.
“U-46 appreciates the opportunity to be a part of this effort,” said U-46 Interim Superintendent Dr. Suzanne Johnson. “Assessment plays a vital role in improving student learning, and parents are empowered and engaged when they better understand their child’s progress.”
The Enhanced Item Release Program is part of a broader New Meridian effort to enhance what is known as “assessment literacy,” the ability that parents, teachers, and other stakeholders have to read and understand assessment results. Better understanding can help guide classroom instruction and resource allocation.
“We are thrilled to have worked directly with Illinois teachers to derive richer, more meaningful reporting from the Illinois Assessment of Readiness,” said Arthur VanderVeen, founder and CEO of New Meridian. “By releasing actual test items to illustrate what students can do at each score level, we can better help families, teachers, and students understand the results and support students’ learning and growth.”
The workshop, conducted for New Meridian by the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO), took place Jan. 30-31 at the U-46 Welcome Center in Elgin. Elementary and middle school teachers from U-46, as well as from districts in Rockford and Chicago, participated.