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Center for Instructional Support

DESE-Approved Screener and Diagnostic Assessments for No-Cost (2020-2021)

In an effort to support schools and districts with access to screener and diagnostic assessment tools at no-cost, DESE requested proposals from assessment publishers able to provide screening assessments and/or diagnostic assessments at no cost to Massachusetts schools and/or districts in support of educators better understanding their students' academic needs in the 2020-2021 school year. After careful review, DESE has currently approved the following assessments (this list will be updated on a rolling basis through December 31, 2020):

DESE also required vendors to submit profiles of information, which a summary table Download Word Document (updated 12/14/2020) can be downloaded, to support local decision making. Districts interested in utilizing one of these tools at no cost for the 2020-2021 school year should contact Nechama Goldberg .

DESE reviewed proposals according to the following criteria:

  • Provided at no-cost to schools/districts for the 2020-2021 schoolyear: The assessment tools and related supports to administrators and educators necessary for effective administration, data collection and interpretation, and reports. This would include, but not limited to: All materials, necessary training for proper administration, necessary staff support (e.g., tech support) to ensure effective administration, and access to data and reporting features. Indicate all the related supports for effective assessment use.

  • Purposeful: The assessment tools are designed to identify the knowledge and skills students have mastered and the knowledge/skills not yet mastered, for the current grade level as well as prerequisite or subskills. The assessments must be designed to help a teacher adapt instruction to address unfinished learning, designed to be administered to a subset of students with a narrow content focus. A rationale should be provided for how the content of the assessment was determined.

  • Provides Actionable Data: Data is provided to educators that is practically actionable in the classroom. Data should be clear and easy to interpret, specific enough to understand the individual student needs at the standard and/or subskill level, and organized to see individual student needs along with class-wide trends. A description should be provided of how student scores and achievement levels are measured and determined.

  • Easily communicated to students, families, and other stakeholders: Communication of assessment results is timely, specific, and understandable. Actionable results are presented to students and/or families so they can understand their progress and areas of need. Example student report must be included in submission.

Screeners and Diagnostics:

Universal Screening is conducted to identify or predict students who may be at risk for poor learning outcomes. Universal screening assessments are typically brief, conducted with all students at a grade level, and followed by additional testing or short-term progress monitoring to corroborate students' risk status. Screening assessments are conducted with all students to quickly identify where students are along the continuum for learning and help determine the degree to which individual students may need additional supports to access grade level content, such as through additional assessment and alternative forms of instruction to supplement the conventional general education approach. Typically, screeners target specific skills and are followed up with diagnostic assessments. Diagnostic assessments illuminate specific student misunderstandings as well as root causes of where students' understanding breaks down. Diagnostics are typically used at the beginning of the year by a teacher to determine where additional scaffolds need to be built into lessons. When coupled with a screener they can be administered to a subset of students who have been identified for intervention and provide insights into the specific types of support a student might need in small group core instruction or Tier 2 instruction.

Covid-19 Context and Assessment:

On March 17, 2020, Massachusetts schools physically closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the significant disruptions and varied student engagement during remote learning during the spring, educators are preparing for a critically important fall re-entry and how to best understand and assess where their students are academically in order to effectively make instructional decisions that would support their students' individual needs while maintaining on-grade-level expectations. Recognizing students' heightened anxiety, trauma, and stress with COVID-19 and the return to school, it is critically important to consider students' mental and emotional readiness before having them engage in a series of assessments. Additionally, for many students, ensuring purposeful curriculum-embedded pre- and formative assessments, will provide the teacher the relevant in-time information that will support students in accessing grade-level instruction with identified additional supports.

Information about the Master Service Agreement and for Vendors:

The bid seeking vendors to provide assessments at no-cost to districts remains open for submissions until December 1, 2020 by 12:00pm ET.

Successful submissions by vendors of screening tools to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education are added to a Master Service Agreement. The Master Service Agreement streamlines the method by which districts may utilize the assessments and training. Please contact Nechama Goldberg with questions about the Master Service Agreement.

Note: The assessments included in this Master Service Agreement submitted proposals that met the selection criteria. This is not an inclusive list of all screener, diagnostic, and formative assessments.

Disclosure Statement:

Reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Our office is not responsible for and does not in any way guarantee the accuracy of information in other sites accessible through links herein. DESE may supplement this list with other services and products that meet the specified criteria.

For more information contact: , 781-338-3551

Last Updated: December 14, 2020

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Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.