For the First Time, 19 Organizations and Experts Endorse One Set of Principles to Guide States and Districts' System of Assessments

Published feb. 20, 2018

BOSTON, MA – February 20, 2018 – How do state and district leaders cut through the clutter to make decisions on assessments for student success? Finally, there is unprecedented support on how to answer this question with the release of Ten Principles for Building a High-Quality System of Assessments, a collaborative effort led by Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems. 


Ten Principles, endorsed by 19 organizations and experts from education, research, workforce, and policy fields, provide a comprehensive roadmap for school leaders to improve current assessments and systems, focus on equity, and develop a learner’s academic proficiency, career skills, and civic aptitude.  


“No single test can determine a student’s college and career path," said Rebecca E. Wolfe, JFF associate vice president, Students at the Center initiative. "But simply piling on more assessments won’t provide timely intervention strategies if they’re poorly chosen and not aligned to what higher education and employers consider college and career readiness. 


"The Ten Principles are a game-changer," she continued. "They offer a comprehensive compilation of the best available information about designing a high-quality system of assessments, combined with nearly 20 of the country’s leading experts standing by to support states and districts to build a balanced system that doesn’t overburden students and teachers.” 


The following groups and organizations aim to set a new precedent with these principles:  


2 Revolutions; Achieve; Alliance for Excellent Education; Heidi Andrade, EdD., Associate Professor, Educational Psychology and Methodology, University of Albany School of Education; Center for Collaborative Education; Center for Curriculum Redesign; David T. Conley, PhD., Professor and Director, Center for Educational Policy Research, University of Oregon, President, EdImagine; EducationCounsel; Envision Learning Partners; Great Schools Partnership; iNACOL; Jobs for the Future; KnowledgeWorks; Learning Forward; Learning Policy Institute; MHA Labs; National Association of State Boards of Education; National Center for Learning Disabilities; Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education. 


These organizations and experts share one common goal for the Ten Principles: to advance equity in college, career, and civic readiness. The effort to develop this single field-backed guide for states and districts was completed with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.  


Ten Principles draw on collective expertise developed over the past several decades of studying and designing assessments and assessment systems. A high-quality system begins with a grounded theory of action and offers a coherent array of assessments needed for success in college and careers. These assessments are compared, analyzed, and refined at regular intervals to remove duplicative testing and improve reliability.    

Corporate and education leaders agree that the Ten Principles will be impactful for both the workforce and education.  


“As the demands for skills evolve, we must develop replicable models, such as IBM’s P-TECH, to equip our youth with the skills and experiences they need to compete in the 21st century. By embracing these principles, we will help graduates better prepare for the workforce,” said Grace Suh, Director, Education - Corporate Citizenship at IBM.  


"Collaboration between industry and educators to create compelling and meaningful assessments for students and job seekers is a critical aspect of closing our current skills gaps," said Gail G. Norris, U.S. Lead SITRAIN Industry Learning Services, Industry Services for Digital Factory/Process Industries & Drives for Siemens Industry, Inc.


“We’ve heard from students for years that current assessment practices fail to capture the learning they have done—both when they have excelled and when they have struggled. Great teachers have similarly struggled with a system in which our most valuable types of assessment seem to get crowded out,” said Rebecca Holmes, President and CEO of the Colorado Education Initiative. “As states and districts implement the Ten Principles, they will be moving toward practices and policies that put every student’s learning at the center, strengthen efforts for college and career readiness, and build deep capacity in educators,” she continued.  


To view Ten Principles for Building a High-Quality System of Assessments, visit


JFF is a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems. For 35 years, JFF has led the way in designing innovative and scalable solutions that create access to economic advancement for all. Join us as we build a future that works.


Students at the Center, a JFF initiative, is an influential voice for advancing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions all learners need to succeed in college, career, and civic readiness. Our work synthesizes—and adapts for practice—current research that is reinventing learning and the definition of success in a global economy. Practitioners and policymakers engage with our experts to design, implement, and assess opportunities that successfully develop learners’ academic proficiency, career skills, and civic aptitude.  

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