Educational Assessment Technology Standards

Can you imagine if someone with a Yahoo email address couldn’t send a message to someone who used Gmail? It may sound crazy, but that is similar to the current situation in educational assessment. When new, improved, and more efficient products come out that better meets State and district needs, they struggle to take advantage of those innovations without losing access to past information and tools. Common educational assessment technology standards can help.

The State consortia building next-generation assessment systems under the Race to the Top Assessment program, the General Supervision Enhancement Grant program, and the Enhanced Assessment Grant program must:

  • Develop all assessment items to an industry-recognized open-licensed interoperability standard, without non-standard extensions or additions; and
  • Produce all student-level data in a manner consistent with an industry-recognized open-licensed interoperability standard.

Attached is a draft document detailing what that requires ― what kinds of common standards are needed so that States and districts can freely choose the best technology vendors based on their efficient, effective, economical, and innovative assessment platforms. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is asking for feedback on the attached proposed framework, which is based on the public feedback received last winter to a Request for Information on this topic.

Just to be clear ― all educational assessment technology interoperability standards and practice must be consistent with relevant privacy laws and regulations. No matter what solutions States, districts, and schools use, they must protect personally identifiable information.

ED wants your thoughts on whether this framework includes the appropriate areas for standardization to permit interoperability and spur innovation. We encourage all interested parties to submit opinions, ideas, suggestions, and comments pertaining to educational assessment interoperability by commenting below or emailing by November 7, 2011.

The fine print: Posts must be related to educational assessment interoperability, should be as specific as possible, and, as appropriate, be supported by data/relevant research. All opinions, ideas, suggestions and comments are considered informal input. ED will not respond to individual comments or emails, will publicly display all those that are appropriate, and may or may not reflect input provided in the policies and requirements of the Department. If you include a link to additional information in your post, please ensure that the linked-to information is accessible to all individuals, including individuals with disabilities. This is a moderated site. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. Additionally, please do not include links to advertisements or endorsements; we will delete all such links before posting your comment.

ED intends to post all responsive submissions in a timely manner. We reserve the right not to post comments that are unrelated to this request, are inconsistent with ED’s Web site policies, are advertisements or endorsements, or are otherwise inappropriate. To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. For more information, please be sure to read the “comments policy” details at

Again, thank you for your interest in this opportunity to expand educational assessment interoperability. We look forward to hearing from you.

Draft Document [PDF, 1.8MB]

Comments received [PDF, 2.76MB]