Summer June & July NSCAS ELA Item Development Workshops
NDE Statewide Assessment is seeking highly qualified educators to participate in virtual ELA assessment development and review opportunities. Stipends of $150 a day are available when educators are NOT working under district contract.
- June 6-10 ELA Range ALD Workshop
- July 25-29 ELA Alignment Study Workshop
Fill in the application
On the Importance of 2021 Statewide Summative Assessment Results
Statewide summative assessments are important; they provide an important metric into the effectiveness of our educational system. And while they are important, they are also limited in what they can tell us about this system. Summative assessments are typically a one-time event that measure a small but important set of English Language Arts or Mathematics standards. These assessments are efficient and reliable; but they do not tell the whole story.
A curious person could spend a lifetime digging into Nebraska’s statewide 2021 assessment results. There is rich information to be gleaned about fractions, main ideas, and antonyms. Countless analyses could be conducted and checked to slice and dice the data an infinite number of ways. But if that curious person only had the data from the spring 2021 assessments, and they produced thousands of analyses and wrote hundreds of journal articles about that data, they would miss the point.
They would miss the story. The assessments measure important information that students should know but again they measure only a small fraction of the information that students need to know. These assessments measure what they do in precise but limited ways.
A quick look at the 2021 NSCAS assessments results could easily be interpreted to say that Nebraska students did not learn as much ELA and Mathematics content as students did in previous years. First, that would not surprise any educator or parent when they think back to 2020-2021. It is likely true that there is evidence to suggest that students did not learn as much ELA and Mathematics content as students did previously. But the limited nature of those assessments would fail to tell us what students, teachers, parents, and communities learned and overcame in 2020-2021.
Here are some of things those assessments did not measure.
- Resilience to learn despite a pandemic
- Ingenuity to find new ways to interact remotely and learn digitally
- Curiosity to find a new hobby or to learn about a new subject while in quarantine
- Consideration to be willing to wear a mask all day, every day
- Dedication to establish repetitive rigorous routines to keep spaces safe
- Cleverness to troubleshoot new digital devices and software to connect us
- Patience to wait in line six feet away from everyone
- Compassion to find new ways to manage learning in order to protect those vulnerable to disease
- Inventiveness to find new games to play at recess that followed social distancing guidelines
- Tenacity to investigate every lead during contract tracing to limit potential exposures
- Resolve to protect students and communities while continuing to do the already difficult work of teaching and learning.
- Flexibility to pivot based on the newest scientific information about COVID19
- Relationships that make all the difference in the world to students and families
The statewide assessments do not measure how much our students and educators overcame and what they learned in the process. The data will provide additional evidence to direct our current and future efforts. They tell us that there is still much to learn and a need for improvement; but educators already knew that.
(Dr. Jeremy Heneger is the Director of Statewide Assessment at the Nebraska Department of Education. He holds and Education Doctorate from Doane University and is a 20-year veteran Nebraska educator)
2021-22 Alternate Assessment Waiver Public Comment
Notice of Intent to Apply for a Waiver of Federal Requirement Related to the Percent of Students Who Participate in Statewide Assessments and Opportunity for Comment
From: Nebraska Department of Education
Date: December 5, 2020
The Nebraska Department of Education intends to seek a waiver for the 2021-2022 school year of the federal requirement that would limit the number of students in the state who take alternate assessments. The purpose of this notice is to provide you with an opportunity to comment on this intended waiver request.
Under the requirements of the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Nebraska would need to limit the total number of students who could be designated to participate in NSCAS Alternate Assessment (NSCAS-AA) to 1.0 percent of the students who are required to participate in NSCAS. The aim of the legislation is to prevent an excessive number of students with disabilities from being designated for alternate assessments. Participation in an alternate assessment may limit their access to the full range of academic content standards and could, as a result, delay or prevent them from eventually meeting the state’s graduation requirements. Generally, students with significant cognitive disabilities are given alternate assessments because they cannot participate in standard assessments, even with accommodations.
The 1.0 percent cap is applied uniformly across all states, regardless of the relative frequency of students with disabilities in the school-age population. It is worth noting that Nebraska currently assesses 1.04 percent of its eligible students on the NSCAS-AA. We anticipate making some progress in the next year to lower the percentage of students taking the NSCAS-AA, but reaching the target set by ESSA would likely take Nebraska several years. In pursuit of this goal, the Department recently shared information and guidance on this topic and will continue to promote awareness of the need for appropriate assessment of students with disabilities by providing technical assistance.
The U.S. Department of Education is allowing states to apply for a waiver extension of this requirement for the current school year (2021-2022). The waiver, if granted, will permit Nebraska to gradually reduce the number of students participating in the NSCAS-AA while continuing to provide technical assistance to schools and districts to assist IEP teams to make informed assessment decisions for students with disabilities.
Additional information about the waiver request is available in pdf.
NDE welcomes your comments regarding the intent to apply for this waiver. Comments will be accepted until December 20, 2021.
Questions may be submitted via email firstname.lastname@example.org .
2021-22 NSCAS Fall Workshops Recordings
October 13: NSCAS Growth (YouTube recording, 2 hr, 10min)
October 27: NSCAS Alt, PL & Formative Assessment, Science & SIPS, NAEP (YouTube recording, 1 hr, 33 min)
New DAC Statewide Assessment Overview
- Scheduled on August 11, 2021
- Intended for new DACs, but everyone is welcome to attend.
- Focuses on big picture general information (i.e. processes and resources).
- Scheduled from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and will be recorded for those unable to attend the live event.
- Please email Stacey Weber for Zoom information.
NSCAS Assessment Presentations at NDE Day 2021
Please join us for the Assessment presentations at NDE Day, July 28, 2021
(Click Links for PowerPoints)
9:45-10:30 NSCAS Innovation – Jeremy Heneger
10:40-11:25 NSCAS Growth Q&A (in person only – recording to come later) – Jeremy Heneger
1:55-2:40 NSCAS Update 2021-22 – Jeremy Heneger
2:50-3:36 NSCAS ACT State Testing for 2022 – Jeremy Heneger and Iris Owens
2:50-3:35 NSCAS Science: Building a Coherent System of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment – Rhonda True and Audrey Webb
NSCAS Summative Test Window
Click for a pdf of all of the NSCAS assessment schedules in one convenient document.
Technical Advisory Committee Meeting
The next Technical Advisory Committee Meeting is on April 19, 2020 from 11:00-3:00 CST.
- Using Principled Alignment and Item Difficulty Modeling to Create an Integrated, Hybrid Interim-Summative Through Year Adaptive Assessment System: Proof of Concept and Considerations
- Through Year Prioritization Model Overview
NSCAS General Assessment Administration Manual
The Online Test Administration Manual (with the scripts for administering the assessment) can be found on NWEA’s Nebraska Portal under Assessment Coordinators. You may want to bookmark this page as it has a plethora of helpful NSCAS information.
Statewide Assessment & Accountability Update 2020-2021
Overview of Topics:
- MyACT & NSCAS ACT Support
- Expanded Testing Time for NSCAS Phase I Pilot and Science Field Test
- NSCAS Phase I Pilot and Science Field Test iPad highlighter functionality
- NSCAS Phase I Pilot and Science Field Test Reporting Update
- NSCAS Phase I Pilot and Science Field Test Exempt Clarification
Statewide Assessment & Accountability Update Presentation – Video Time: 26:06
NSCAS Assessment Development Application – Virtual Summer 2021 Work
Even though the NSCAS test windows have not opened, it is time to start planning for next year. Below is a link for an application for summer NSCAS test development & alignment work for NSCAS summative general (ELA, math, science) and for formative classroom task development for science. All assessment development work will be done virtually this summer.
NDE Statewide Assessment is always seeking highly qualified educators to participate in assessment development, review, and alignment opportunities. Stipends are available when educators are NOT working under district contract.
We are currently seeking educators for summer NSCAS test development work for both NSCAS General and NSCAS formative work in science. You can find the NSCAS summer application link below. If you have any questions please contact us at 402.314.3013.
The first page of the application will offer details about content areas and dates. Please let NDE know if you have any questions about the application or the test development opportunities. The initial selection process will begin at the end of March.
Paper/Pencil Exempt Students
Remember to send Maggie Sis (email@example.com) any of your NSCAS Phase I Pilot and Science Field Test paper/pencil material exempt students to Maggie Sis, include the student state ID Number, and reason for exemption (requires braille, large print or translation)
ELPA21 Extended Dates
The ELPA21 window is currently open and has been extended through April 2, 2021. ALL students identified in TIDE as English Learners must have either a score for each domain test or a Reason Not Tested (RNT) code for each domain test entered. The window for districts to review their data and enter RNT codes will be available from February 22nd through April 16th. For additional information, please refer to the TIDE User Guide, beginning on p. 90.
Contact Information: Allyson Olson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-405-5212
Students Attending an External Program
Please send your NSCAS Phase I Pilot and Science Field Test students who are attending an external program (Rule 18, ESU program, or contracted service program) to Maggie Sis (email@example.com). Review the 2/11/2021 email from Stacey Weber for details and roster template.
Assessment Team Has New Phone Numbers
The assessment team has new numbers! For general assessment questions, call the Statewide Assessment main phone at 402-314-3013. We no longer have the capability to transfer your calls, so if you have specific questions, please feel free to contact team members directly. Find all our new numbers on the Statewide Assessment Contact Us webpage.