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Press Release

Measuring True College and Career Readiness

Learning Policy Institute receives award to support more authentic assessments for California students

Palo Alto, CA, March 23, 2016The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) was named today as one of 12 organizations nationwide to receive a grant award from the Assessment for Learning Project (ALP) to fundamentally rethink the roles that assessment should play to advance student learning and to improve our k-­12 education system. LPI is supporting the California Performance Assessment Collaborative (CPAC), a newly launched pilot project that enables schools, districts, and networks in California to share, research, and document current efforts to graduate students using competency-­based approaches. Instead of assessments based only on testing, these will assess applied learning focused on deep understanding of content and demonstration of 21st-century skills in order to inform other schools as well as state policymakers.

CPAC’s work has deep implications for teaching and learning in participating schools and for the work of both practitioners and policymakers who are rethinking assessments with the passage of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA requires states to implement assessments that measure “higher-­order thinking skills and understanding” and explicitly invites the use of “portfolios, projects, or extended-­performance tasks” as part of state and local assessment systems.

Born from the vision of a group of committed educators, policymakers, and researchers in response to the current policy environment, CPAC serves as an “innovation site” within the state where educators from various contexts are now working together within a professional learning community dedicated to the advancement of authentic, meaningful assessments for California children.

CPAC is composed of the Learning Policy Institute, working with schools from the CORE network (including the Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco Unified school districts), Envision Schools, High Tech High, Internationals Network for Public Schools, Linked Learning Alliance, and New Tech Network. Additionally, the following schools are participating: East Palo Alto Academy (Sequoia Union High School District), Hillsdale High School (San Mateo Unified School District), John Muir High School (Pasadena Unified School District), and Oceana High School (Jefferson Union High School District). In addition to ALP, support for this collaborative program comes from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Notes Linda Darling-­Hammond, CEO and President of the Learning Policy Institute, “This work will inform both those seeking to develop more meaningful assessments in their schools and those seeking to develop policies that can support the deeper learning opportunities today’s students need to succeed in today’s and tomorrow’s world. Ultimately, the goal is to enable students to pursueand colleges and employers to be able to receivemore productive measures of students’ genuine accomplishments and readiness for postsecondary college, career, and civic life.”

“For too long, assessment has been something that is ‘done to’ kids instead of with them,” said Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director of the Center for Innovation in Education, one of the organizations partnering with the Assessment for Learning Project (ALP). “These 12 grantees have promising plans to use assessment to build student agency, support a broader definition of student success, and envision new systems of assessment and accountability.”

Out of 148 proposals, ALP selected its 12 grantees based on the “boldness of their ideas, the quality of their learning plan and general orientation toward learning, potential for scale and routes to ‘systemness,’ and their potential contribution to the learning agenda.” Next Generation Learning Challenges is the co-­partner of this initiative, with funding provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The Learning Policy Institute and CPAC proudly join the Center for Collaborative Education, Colorado Education, Del Lago Academy, Fairfax County Public Schools, Hawai’i Department of Education, Henry County Schools, Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium, New Hampshire Learning Initiative, Summit Public Schools, Two Rivers Public Charter School, and WestEd as recipients of the initial round of ALP grants. For more information on the project and the 12 grant recipients, visit


About the Learning Policy Institute

The Learning Policy Institute conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice. Working with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others, the Institute seeks to advance evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for each and every child. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the Institute connects policymakers and stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels with the evidence, ideas, and actions needed to strengthen the education system from preschool through college and career readiness.