Assessing 21st century skills is a critical component in moving students toward college and career readiness. As schools adopt increasingly complex standards for student learning, assessments are needed that can reliably measure critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. While there’s been a focus at federal and state levels on ensuring the alignment of assessments to these skills, less attention has been paid to how schools can actually use the results from these measures to improve teaching and learning.
Using assessments of college readiness for school improvement
Which explains why this guide is entitled Step Two. If you’re looking for Step One in this series, there isn’t one. We have plenty of evidence of schools across the country administering assessments of college readiness. What is often lacking is the important follow through–the answer to the question “What’s next?” This guide seeks to answer that question, by offering best practices gleaned from the study of schools across the country that are effectively engaged in Step Two.
In Spring 2014, we conducted research to examine how schools are using data from college readiness assessments. Specifically, we identified schools around the country that are administering the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA) and are implementing strategies to analyze, interpret, and report
the results in impactful ways. Through recommendations from the Council for Aid to Education, leaders from a number of high schools were selected for in-depth interviews about their assessment practices. They were asked about their processes for analyzing CWRA data, sharing results with different stakeholders, and using these results for instructional planning. The following spotlights several key strategies that leaders are implementing to make a difference at their schools.