US Department of Education applauds PACE, NH’s innovative assessment program

sanborn pace assignment
Sanborn Middle School students work on a PACE assessment.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has announced that New Hampshire received approval to continue with its innovative assessment program, the Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE), as part of a pilot program authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

From the US Department of Education:

“I’m thrilled to see Commissioner Edelblut step up to the plate and utilize this important new flexibility afforded by ESSA,” said Secretary DeVos. “This pilot program gives states the opportunity to make assessments more relevant to classroom learning while still providing important information about student achievement and growth.”

New Hampshire’s Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) is grounded in a competency-based educational approach designed to ensure that all students have meaningful opportunities to achieve critical knowledge and skills. The PACE will use local assessments as part of the annual determination of student proficiency for accountability. The assessments will be informed by local teachers, integrated into students’ day-to-day work and reduce the overall amount of standardized testing.

Take a look at how some NH schools are changing their culture of learning with innovations like PACE in this fun animation.

Louisiana was the first state to receive approval to utilize this flexibility. Its pilot program will measure student understanding in English language arts (ELA) and social studies by assessing students on passages from books used in daily classroom instruction at regular intervals, rather than randomly-selected texts once during the school year.

The Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) program is designed to lower barriers to innovation and encourage local involvement in the development of the next generation of assessments.

As part of the program, states can pilot new and innovative assessments on a small scale, avoid double-testing students on both pilot and statewide exams and develop strategies for implementing such innovative assessments statewide over time.

To participate in the pilot, states must apply and demonstrate how their innovative assessments are developed in collaboration with local stakeholders, aligned to challenging state academic standards and accessible to all students through use of principles of universal design for learning, among other requirements.

Learn more about PACE in New Hampshire:

Source: New Hampshire Becomes Second State to Embrace Flexibility in ESSA to Pilot Innovative Assessments | US Department of Education