10 Florida Districts Crowdsource Assessment Tools

A group of 10 rural school districts in Northeastern Florida are joining forces to "crowdsource" their assessment tools. The 10 districts that make up the North East Florida Educational Consortium (NEFEC) have partnered with Performance Matters, a company that provides digital assessment tools, to create an assessment platform that all of the districts can use.

Florida state requirements call for all graded courses to have end-of-course (EOC) tests, a task that is both expensive and time-consuming for small school districts. So the NEFEC is using a new product from Performance Matters, called Unify, as an assessment platform that all its member districts can both create and use.

Last summer, teachers from the 10 NEFEC districts worked together to determine which Florida state standards are best suited to use on summative assessments. The Unify platform was then able to help them develop assessment blueprints that the individual districts, schools and teachers can then use as frameworks for building their own EOC tests.

"This allows teachers from our member districts to pool their resources to author, review, approve and share high-quality assessment content, which is a huge benefit in terms of efficiency and cost savings," said Adam G. Azula, NEFEC program development and training specialist.

So far, the districts have developed assessment tools for 300 courses. The same group that initiated the process last summer will review the content this month and begin using it for the end-of-the-school year tests in May.

"This collaboration makes it affordable to develop EOC tests in all courses, even in a small rural district like ours," said Marcie M. Tucker, a teacher support colleague in the Union County School District. "Everything we need to create an EOC test is there in one place, just a click away."

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.