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Assessments and Accountability
The mission of the Assessments and Accountability Department is to support OSSE as it removes barriers and creates pathways for the District of Columbia's K-12 students to receive an excellent education and to prepare them for success. Support is provided through the design and administration of the assessments. Their goal is to measure students' core knowledge, skills and abilities and to hold schools and teachers accountable for students' academic progress.
Pursuant to the District of Columbia Public Education Reform Act of 2007 (DC Act 17-38), OSSE serves as the State Education Agency (SEA) and performs the functions of an SEA for the District of Columbia under applicable federal law, the state functions for standards, assessments, and federal accountability requirements for elementary and secondary education.
As such, the District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS) assessment measures student knowledge in reading in grades 2-10; composition in grades 4, 7, and 10; mathematics in grades 2 - 8 and 10; science in grades 5, 8, and high school biology; health in grades 5, 8, and high school health.
OSSE is responsible for administering multiple education assessments annually. Click the following links to find more information about the DC CAS, the DC CAS-Alt,
Under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the District of Columbia is required to collect and report data on school and LEA education statistics. Find more information about accountability policies and resources.
The most important aspect of state-wide standardized test administration is to ensure that test scores are accurate representations of what the District’s students know and are able to do. For this reason, ethical testing practices, including pre-test activities and instruction, are paramount in making inferences about student ability and instructional quality. Therefore, if students are coached or taught only the content specific to a certain test, their test scores may not be valid indicators of their level of mastery for a specific content area.
In the summer and fall following the Spring DC CAS administration, OSSE conducts an analysis of the test results to ensure their integrity. This may include, but is not limited to: an analysis of student erasures, unusual patterns or gains in student performance, student-level multiple choice and constructed response answers, other forensic analysis of data patterns, an analysis of incidents reported, and audits of missing materials. After a review of each allegation of possible violations, acts are categorized into three groupings (i.e., no findings, minor, moderate, or critical) according according to the severity of the violation and its possible consequences.
Please click the following links below for additional information, resources and technical assistance pertaining to Test Integrity and Investigations:
Another component of the Assessments and Accountability Department is standard-setting.
Educational standards document what a student at a particular grade level should know and be able to do. In the areas of mathematics and reading, the District of Columbia has adopted the Common Core State Standards. The District also has educational standards in the areas of arts, early learning, health and physical education, science, social studies, technology, and world language.