Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Ready for Learning Assessment Options

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Learning Services
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Federal Programs; Superintendents; Assistant Superintendent; Principals; Technology Coordinators; Test Coordinators; General Business Managers; Teachers; Gifted & Talented Coordinators; Curriculum Coordinators; School Counselors; Techstart Coordinators or Contact Name; Equity Coordinators (Disability/Race/Gender/National Origin); Data Stewards (SIS; eSchool; eFinance; TRIAND); District Coordinators (ALE; Homeless; ESOL; SDFS & Foster); Parent Involvement Coordinators/Facilitators

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Memo Text

The Arkansas Department of Education: Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (ADE: DESE) is committed to supporting districts in measuring student learning amidst the uncertainties created by COVID-19.  In addition to the required K-2 assessments provided under the state contract through 2024, the ADE: DESE has established partnerships to provide districts with optional assessment tools for 3-8 for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. These 3-8 assessment tools are intended to be used throughout the year for instructional purposes only and will not replace the ACT Aspire for summative assessment.  Because of this new development, the K-2 assessment selection process will reopen with an additional option for grades 3-8.

  •  Each district may choose from the state-approved list for K-2 and 3-8.  
  • Districts may maintain their current selection for K-2 or make a different selection.  
  • Districts may choose the same vendor for K-2 and 3-8 or different vendors for each of the two grade bands.  

The ADE: DESE Office of Student Assessment will continue to provide policy expectations and guidance on K-2 assessments.  Districts may use the 3-8 assessments based on local decision and policy.  The grades 3-8 assessment features available under the state contract will match the K-2 assessment features provided for ELA and math under the state contract.  District selections for K-2 will continue to be a FOUR-year commitment.  District selections for 3-8 will be a two-year commitment under the state contract.  Districts have the option to purchase additional vendor features at local discretion.  Districts who currently have local contracts with one of vendors on the state-approved list for grades 3-8 will have the ability to switch to the state contract.


Approved Vendors

The K-2 and 3-8 assessments on the state-approved list are the following:

  • Curriculum Associates: i-Ready
  • Istation: ISIP
  • NWEA: MAP Growth
  • Renaissance: Star

All vendors have provided resources designed to support districts in making their assessment selections.  

  • Curriculum Associates can be accessed here. 
  • Istation can be accessed here
  • NWEA can be accessed here. 
  • Renaissance can be accessed here.

Open Enrollment and Required Action

Current K-2 selections may be viewed here.  The Superintendents of all public school districts and charter schools that wish to change their current K-2 selection must email Sheree Baird at by June 19, 2020.  Additionally, superintendents may submit their 3-8 assessment choice to the Office of Student Assessment using the Google form found here by June 19, 2020.   


In addition to the option to use these vendors for 3-8 assessments, all districts will continue to have access to the ACT Aspire Periodic Assessments to measure student learning.  In lieu of requiring districts to opt into ACT Aspire Periodic Assessments for the 2020-2021 school year, the Office of Student Assessment will work with ACT to load all districts into the ACT Aspire Periodic administrative platform so that these assessments may be used flexibly to meet district needs.


Assessment Purposes: Letting Data Lead

Districts should develop local assessment purposes and strategies to address student needs.  Decisions about assessment must be made with consideration given to what is necessary and possible within the district.  Assessments serve a variety of purposes but should serve an intended use and must be followed by meaningful action.  The data provided by any assessment should be one of many pieces used to inform instructional decisions made for students.


K-2 and 3-8 Assessment Selection - FAQ






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