9 Principles of High Quality Assessments

Schools and districts should follow these nine principles* of high-quality assessment systems in implementing the student assessment component of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

  • Monitors growth over a student’s educational experience.
  • Is an effective tool for students, teachers, administrators, and parents to monitor student progress.
  • Incorporates the unique accessibility needs of English learners and students with disabilities.
  • Varies assessment formats according to the type of standards that need to be measured.
  • Measures behavioral skills.
  • Is offered through multiple comparable platforms.
  • Offers multiple stakeholders—especially teachers—ongoing, real-time, interactive reporting and access to assessments results and other related data, as well as the supporting documentation to understand and appropriately use the results.
  • Is well aligned to state learning standards.
  • Yields useful data bolstered by acceptable student participation rates.

No single assessment or assessment type can capture all aspects of student performance and readiness, especially in the context of a holistic approach to education. In 2014, ACT stated its principles for a high-quality assessment system. In the wake of ESSA, these principles have been revisited and updated for the current era of federal accountability in the 2018 Edition of ACT’s K-12 Education Policy Platform.

*Excerpt from the 2018 Edition of ACT’s K-12 Education Policy Platform