Dr. Michael Teahon
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|Title||Perceptions of Nebraska Administrators Regarding the Transition from STARS to NeSA and its Perceived Influence on the Implementation of a Balanced Assessment System|
|Author||Teahon, Michael D.|
|School||The University of Nebraska - Lincoln|
Over approximately the first decade of the 21st century, Nebraska educators have experienced the development and implementation of two differing assessment systems. The STARS system, implemented in 2001, was the first standards-based assessment system that Nebraska had supported and required of schools in the state. In early 2008, the Nebraska Legislature passed legislation that required a statewide criterion-referenced test of Nebraska standards in reading, mathematics and science. NeSA was developed and incrementally implemented.
The purpose of this explanatory mixed-methods study was to explore the perceptions of Nebraska administrators in the 3rd Congressional District about their experiences in the transition from STARS to NeSA and their perceptions of the influence of that shift on implementing a balanced assessment system. The study was conducted in conjunction with a parallel study of Nebraska teachers’ perceptions completed by Jamie Isom. A total of 449 educators from 92 schools participated in the parallel studies, including 115 administrators and 334 teachers.
In Phase I, quantitative data collected through a web-based survey of administrators’ perceptions about assessments in general, the Nebraska STARS assessment system, the NeSA assessment system, the transition from STARS to NeSA, and the prevalence of a balanced assessment system were collected. In Phase II, the collection of quantitative data was followed with the collection of qualitative data from open-ended survey questions and interviews with selected administrators for the purpose of assisting in the explanation and interpretation of the findings.
The results indicate that administrators recognize the importance of a balanced assessment system but have yet to effectively define it within their districts. Districts must still determine the role of assessment in improving instruction, evaluating student progress, improving student learning, driving school improvement and demonstrating accountability for the public. Nebraska must incorporate the advantages of STARS in development of assessment, student preparation, and curriculum alignment with the strengths of NeSA in evaluating student progress and in public accountability.