2021 Fall Virtual Conference

When: November 22-23, 2021 (approximately 9 am – 3 pm)

Where: Online event

Monday, November 22, 2021    (9:00 A.M. – 2:15 P.M.)

“Test validation for a crisis: Five practical heuristics for the best and worst of times,” Andrew Ho (Charles William Eliot Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education) 9:00 – 10:30 A.M.

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised debate about the place of education and testing in a hierarchy of needs. What do tests tell us that other measures do not? Is testing worth the time? Do tests expose or exacerbate inequality? The academic consensus in the open-access AERA/APA/NCME Standards has not seemed to help proponents and critics of tests reach common ground. I propose five heuristics for test validation and demonstrate their usefulness for navigating test policy and test use in a time of crisis: 1) A “four quadrants” framework for purposes of educational tests. 2) The “Five Cs,” a mnemonic for the five types of validity evidence in the Standards. 3) “RTQ,” a mantra reminding test users to read items. 4) The “3 Ws,” a user-first perspective on testing. And 5) the “Two A’s Tradeoff” between Assets and Accountability. I define and discuss these heuristics in the hope that they increase consensus and improve test use in the best and worst of times.

Break 10:30 – 10:45 A.M.

MI Blueprint – A Path Forward for School Innovation and Redesign,” Anupam Chugh (Manager of Instructional Technology, Wayne RESA,) and John VanWagoner (Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools) 10:45 – 11:30 A.M.

Governor Whitmer released the MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery in May 2021 to provide education leaders recommendations in developing and implementing a multi-year, evidence based, equity driven comprehensive recovery plan. This session will provide participants with a broad overview of the different sections of the plan and how schools are using the Blueprint to support students post-pandemic. The session will include a deeper dive into the innovation and redesign recommendations focusing on the needs of the whole-child.

Lunch  11:30 A.M. – 12:15 P.M.

“What we can and can’t learn from Michigan student achievement data collected during the pandemic.”, Katharine Strunk (Professor of Education Policy and Faculty Director of EPIC, MSU) 12:15 – 1:15 P.M.

The state has released data from the spring 2021 administration of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) and districts’ benchmark assessments administered during the 2020-21 school year. In this presentation, I review the results from these assessment data and discuss what we can and cannot learn from these data, including implications for state and local policymakers.

Break 1:30 – 1:45 P.M.

“New and Upcoming Reports on MI School Data,” Cheryl Twichell (Senior Analyst, Center of Educational Performance, and Information (CEPI)) 1:45 – 2:15 P.M.

This presentation will highlight new reports or features that have recently been released on MI School Data, as well as a preview of upcoming reports. It will also include an update on recent and upcoming data releases.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021    (9:00 A.M. – 2:15 P.M.)

Acceleration not Remediation: An effective response to COVID learning loss,” David Steiner (Professor of Education and Executive Director of Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy, John Hopkins University) 9:00 – 10:30 A.M.

Faced with tragically large learning gaps between wealthy and poor students, the latter often students of color, this country has used remediation as the go-to strategy. This has meant promoting students whose work is well below grade level to the next grade level and then trying to teach them all that they didn’t learn in earlier years. This near-universally employed tactic has been a repeated failure: the gaps don’t close – in fact they most often grow over the grades.  Enough: Instead of delaying access to grade-level work for students who’ve fallen behind, we need to accelerate it that access. Using well designed curriculum embedded diagnostic assessments to pinpoint the skills and knowledge needed for a student to access the next grade-level lesson or unit, we must then give that students immediate, intense instruction in that content. Drawing on current work in multiple school districts, the speaker will lay out the challenges, the strategies, and the very early lessons of implementing the acceleration approach to learning. Particular attention will be paid to how schools and districts best organize themselves to leave remediation behind and instead “lean-forward” to ensure that students can achieve grade-level learning even if they have missed considerable educational content.

Break 10:30 – 10:45 A.M.

“Learning during COVID-19: National findings from the NWEA Map Growth assessments,” Megan Kuhfeld (Senior Research Scientist, NWEA) 10:45 – 11:30 A.M.

To what extent did COVID-19 disruptions affect student achievement in the 2020-2021 school year, and which students have been most affected? In this talk, we will present research on the academic trends of students during the 2020-21 school year as compared to a more typical school year. Additionally, we will address what these findings suggest about widening education inequality, specifically the impact this past year had on students of color and students experiencing poverty. Finally, we will discuss our current research efforts to understand the strategies that districts are undertaking to rebuild and recover from the on-going COVID-19 schooling disruptions.

Lunch  11:30 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

Academic Achievement at the End of the 2020-2021 School Year “Insights after More Than a Year of Disruptive Teaching and Learning” Robert Theaker (Curriculum Associates, Associate Director of Research) 12:00 – 12:45 P.M.

Over the last year, teachers and students overcame unprecedented disruption to learn in a variety of environments. Most students started the school year learning remotely, but over the course of the school year, a much larger percentage of students returned to school full time or in hybrid environments. The impact of this past year will not be fully understood for years to come, but students in many schools took interim assessments administered by Curriculum Associates or other vendors. This interim assessment data can help paint a picture of where students are, relative to where we would expect, and the progress that has been made.

Break 12:45 – 1:00 P.M.

“Reboot 2021: How successful was this year’s restart in the world of assessment and accountability? (So far),” Andrew Middlestead (Director, Office of Educational Assessment & Accountability) 1:00 – 1:30 P.M.

Andy Middlestead will spend some time discussing where things stand with assessment and accountability so far in the 2021-22 school year. How did things wrap up after the 2021 assessment cycle and what does spring 2022 look like?

“Michigan Accountability: 2021 Letter Grade Results, and Other Updates,” Chris Janzer (Assistant Director, MDE Office of Accountability) 1:30 – 2:00 P.M.

This session will cover 2020-21 School Grades results and some basic insights. Chris will also discuss ongoing work with the Parent Dashboard and School Index reports on MI School Data, as well as any developments on federal accountability changes.

Question & Answer Session 2:00 – 2:15 P.M.


* $75 – Two Day Early Bird Registration Fee (Thru November 14, 2021)

* $95 – Two Day Registration Fee (November 15 – Nov. 21, 2021)

* $30 – Two Day Retired or Student Registration

SCECHs will be made available