(The Center Square) – Missouri is one of 10 states receiving a total of $29 million from the U.S. Department of Education to develop assessments for students while they learn during the school year and at the end.
Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will receive $2.5 million for its Pathways for Instructionally Embedded (PIE) Assessment project. The initiative will develop and evaluate prototype assessments on multiple measures of student achievement for approximately 1,500 fifth grade students and their teachers.
“This grant funding provides DESE the opportunity to accelerate our plans to redesign the state’s assessment system,” Margie Vandeven, DESE Commissioner, said in a statement. “The PIE project will give us a chance to advance our goal to better see where and when students need more academic support in order to become success-ready.”
The project is designed for assessments given during instruction to provide timely data to teachers. If needed, teachers could intervene with students to address potential learning gaps.
The Department of Education’s Competitive Grants for State Assessments program was created to encourage innovative testing methods to deliver timely and meaningful results to educators, parents and students. Programs focused on multilingual learners and students with disabilities were prioritized for funding.
“With this enhanced data and the resources from the American Rescue Plan, our school leaders have the resources to support students who need them the most, which is vital as our nation recovers from the pandemic,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement announcing the grants. “Ultimately, student assessment data should be focused on driving resources to students who need the most support, not on labeling schools and teachers especially while we are recovering from a pandemic.”
Missouri’s statewide test scores, released earlier this month, showed students didn’t reach pre-pandemic levels of proficiency on statewide tests, but did show improvement over the 2020-21 school year. DESE reported distanced or virtual learning students experienced a greater impact of lost instructional time compared to those students in a hybrid model or in-person learning.
DESE reported students experienced a greater impact of lost instructional time in mathematics compared to English language arts. Fifth graders experienced a greater impact of lost instructional time compared to later grades.
Other states receiving grants were Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Montana, Nebraska and New York. Louisiana received two grants totaling more than $4 million for its Department of Education.
The 2020 project funding was approximately $13 million and awarded to five states – Nebraska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Texas.