The U.S. Department of Education is on the verge of releasing the first draft of new guidance on the peer-review process for standards and tests, a document that could exert a powerful influence on how states set academic expectations.
Little known outside the assessment world, the process is wonky and technical. But it is an important tool for the federal agency in reviewing—and shaping—states’ academic standards and testing systems.
The draft of updated guidance, expected this month, arrives as most states are trying out or designing new tests to reflect the Common Core State Standards. The testing industry, which crafts those assessments, and state testing directors, who oversee their administration to millions of students, have been waiting anxiously for any sign that the Education Department will change the criteria used to evaluate their systems.