Understanding Pandemic Learning Loss and Learning Recovery: The Role of Student Growth & Statewide Testing

As of January 2021, the United States is almost completely in the dark as to the pandemic’s impact on student learning. In our recent publication, Understanding Pandemic Learning Loss and Learning Recovery: The Role of Student Growth & Statewide Testing we show how spring 2021 assessment data and student growth results derived from it put states in a position to address critical questions regarding academic learning loss. Answers to these questions, together with academic data derived from other sources, will help states, districts and schools construct policies and ...

Read More


Seizing a Rare Opportunity: Design Considerations for Accountability

On Tuesday, February 2, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute hosted the ESSA Accountability Design Competition, a first-of-its-kind conference to generate ideas for state accountability frameworks under the newly enacted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Representatives of ten teams, each from a variety of backgrounds, took the stage to present their outlines before a panel of experts and a live audience. Richard Wenning, BeFoundation's Executive Director, was one of those chosen to present his vision for state accountability under ESSA. In his submission, Richard focuses on ...

Read More


On Poverty, Proficiency and Velocity

First, let me be clear: poverty matters. It impacts children’s starting point in terms of early learning. This is why proficiency is correlated with poverty. Proficiency is a performance standard, it is a destination, a mile marker of attainment in the context of a content standard. It is one of several important indicators of “performance” and it is a lagging indicator. It does not imply academic effectiveness. Policy makers and pundits do a disservice to the public when they conflate “performance” and proficiency. If an accountability system weights proficiency ...

Read More