What You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Assessment But Were Afraid to Ask

What You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Assessment But Were Afraid to Ask
What You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Assessment But Were Afraid to Ask


This briefing was exclusively for Congressional staff on the topic of assessment in education. It was an interactive, engaging session featuring Dr. Andrew Ho, Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.  This event was the second in a series of briefings that aim to provide key background knowledge on important education policy issues, and enable Congressional staff to hear from nationally-recognized leaders in education policy, practice, and research.

This session addressed:

  • The various types of assessments—such as interim, formative and summative—and their purposes, including to determine state or international rankings; to determine student, school or district performance; and to evaluate teacher effectiveness
  • Descriptions of the most widely used national and international assessments, such as NAEP and PISA
  • Assessments currently used by states for accountability purposes and to assess student learning
  • An introduction to the common assessments to be aligned with the new Common Core State Standards and how the two federally-funded assessment consortia are approaching their development

Andrew Ho is a professor in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. He is a psychometrician working at the intersection of educational statistics and educational policies. His research informs and improves the development, use, and interpretation of large-scale educational accountability metrics. Dr. Ho has studied the consequences of “proficiency”-based accountability metrics, the validation of high stakes test score trends with low stakes comparisons, and the potential for alternative accountability structures—like “growth models” and “index systems”—to improve school- and classroom-level incentives.

Dr. Ho’s current projects include articulating meaningful contrasts between accountability models for student growth and developing new achievement gap and growth metrics for cross-test comparison and validation. He has his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and his M.S. in Statistics from Stanford University. Dr. Ho has been a postdoctoral fellow at the National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation and a recipient of the Jason Millman Promising Measurement Scholar Award from the National Council on Measurement in Education.

Dr. Ho was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and prior to his position at Harvard was most recently on the faculty of the University of Iowa.

Andrew Ho’s Slides»

Glossary of Terms Related to Assessment»

Presenter Information

Andrew Ho

Assistant Professor

Harvard Graduate School of Education

455 Gutman Library, 6 Appian Way

Cambridge, MA 02138


Additional Resources


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