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Education Excellence

Jul 26, 2019

Kristina chats with Jessica Baghian, Assistant Superintendent with the Louisiana Department of Education (LADOE) and Mike Nesterak, Vice President of Research and Development at NWEA and Senior Director of NWEA’s Product Innovation Center about Louisiana’s assessment pilot. Baghian leads assessment, accountability, and improvement for the LADOE and oversees improvement efforts of early childhood networks, local enrollment systems, and the CLASS quality rating system. Nesterak’s areas of expertise are reporting of data, early childhood assessments, and the use of technology in assessment. NWEA has been awarded a $1 million, two-year grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to support NWEA’s work with the Louisiana Department of Education on the state's innovative assessment pilot. The funding will be used to conceptualize, develop, and evaluate a pilot that utilizes curriculum content so that, regardless of their socioeconomic background, students have common background knowledge ensuring a more equitable assessment for all students. During the pilot, the department will be explicitly assessing students’ reading comprehension, not through “cold reads” but rather through “books and texts worth studying,”explains Baghian. Tests will be given three or four times a year on the curriculum developed by teachers, who are provided with several points of reference for student assessment, explains Nesterak. Teachers are front and center in curricula building in Louisiana, explains Baghian. The goal of the pilot project is to have classrooms be more “knowledge-rich,” says Baghian. In addition, the pilot project is designed to establish innovative test designs to promote equity in assessment, adds Nesterak.  This episode was sponsored by CHADD,, and NWEA,