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Getting Smart Podcast

May 23, 2018

Today, Tom speaks with Chris Minnich of the Northwest Evaluation Association — more commonly known as the NWEA. Chris was named the new CEO of NWEA in the fall of 2017. In his new role at NWEA, Chris will help invent the future of assessment. Currently, about 1 in 5 students in America already monitors their academic using the NWEA assessment tests.


Previously to his new position at NWEA, Chris served as the Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers. During his decade there, Chris led the chiefs through the update to federal education policy that brought an end to a decade of unprecedented federal control and investment in K-12 education.


In this episode, Tom talks to Chris about where he’s been and where he sees the future of education and assessment heading. Chris describes a future where we combine adaptive assessment and performance assessment to know how all kids are doing in real time.


Key Takeaways:

[1:06] Chris talks about his educational background and whether or not it impacted his career choice.

[2:33] How Chris made it to the Oregon Department of Education.

[3:37] About Chris’ work in becoming an early leader in online assessment.

[4:25] Why and when did Chris join the Council of Chief State School Officers?

[5:51] About Chris stepping in to become the Executive Director at CCSSO after the time of strong federal involvement.

[7:49] Why Chris decided to join the NWEA and what he wants he’s looking forward to working on.

[9:19] About NWEA, their goal, when the tests are given, and the subjects covered.

[10:29] Does Chris see a way to use multiple forms of assessments together to both improve learning and to make mastery judgments?

[14:00] The benefits of assessment.

[15:25] Is there anything that could help teachers combine multiple forms of assessment?

[17:09] About Chris’ interest in assessment literacy and helping teachers make better use of formative data.

[19:02] What Chris is looking to accomplish with NWEA in the near future.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Oregon Department of Education

No Child Left Behind Act

Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)

Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA)

Dreambox Learning



Want to Learn More About High-Quality Formative Assessment?

Listen in to the conversation with experts and teachers from Austin, Dallas, and Tulsa in:

S3: E14 What is Formative Assessment? Voices from the Field


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