Educational Assessment 101


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What are assessments? And why do we assess?

Educational assessments can be used to support learning as well as validate it. The type of assessments states, districts, and schools choose should match the purpose behind the questions they are trying to answer about student learning. Every assessment has strengths and limitations; considering purpose helps ensure that the assessment you’re choosing is a good fit.

When it comes to selecting assessments and setting assessment policy, legislators have significant power and opportunity. While heated political conversations around state assessments have died down since 2016, which saw 75 assessment-related bills enacted into law across 30 states, the last few years have still seen heavy interest and action around innovating, streamlining, and aligning assessments at the state and district level.

Please join NWEA’s Kimberley Kraft, director of State and Government Partnerships, as she unpacks (1) the different types of assessment, (2) how assessments are used to support and inform diverse stakeholders, including parents and students, and (3) pockets of innovation where states are experimenting with assessments to better serve the individual needs of their student population.



  • Michelle Exstrom, group director, NCSL's Education Program


  • Kimberley Kraft, director, State & Government Partnerships at NWEA