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Why teachers shouldn't give kids standardized tests when school starts

Aug. 5, 2020

CADRE Faculty Partner, Dr. Lorrie Shepard, provides a commentary in the Washington Post for states, districts and schools to consider as they begin a new school year during the coronavirus pandemic.

student taking a test
Letter by Dr. Lorrie Shepard to the Colorado Commissioner of Education and State Board of Education Regarding Statewide Diagnostic Tests in Fall 2020

July 20, 2020

On June 15, 2020, a group of Colorado education organizations wrote to Colorado Commissioner of Education, Dr. Katy Anthes, proposing that a statewide “diagnostic” test be administered to students as they enter school this fall.

The Center for Assessment, Design, Research and Evaluation (CADRE) is housed in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. The mission of CADRE is to produce generalizable knowledge that improves the ability to assess student learning and to evaluate programs and methods that may have an effect on this learning. Projects undertaken by CADRE staff represent a collaboration with the ongoing activities in the School of Education, the University, and the broader national and international community of scholars and stakeholders involved in educational assessment and evaluation.

CADRE has the following purposes:


  1. To promote and support the design of assessments capable of providing insights about what and how students learn.
  2. To evaluate programs and interventions intended to have effects on student learning.
  3. To disseminate the results of its research to a wide audience of individual educators, educational institutions and organizations, government representatives and units, the media, and the general public.
  4. To collaborate with local, state and national groups, organizations, and individuals on projects germane to its mission.
  5. To enhance the School of Education’s graduate program in Research and Evaluation Methodology.

CADRE meets these purposes by conducting research in assessment and psychometrics, taking a lead role in small and large-scale educational evaluation projects, and training graduate students to have expertise in these areas. CADRE leverages the widely recognized strength of faculty throughout the School of Education in assessment and evaluation.  This expertise is rooted in expertise in both disciplinary content and research methodology.  The primary home of CADRE is the School’s Research and Evaluation Methodology program, where faculty specialize in psychometrics, statistics, experimental design and program evaluation.