Why do assessment practices not align with what students are learning in class? Our current education accountability system depends on large-scale, summative assessments aligned with state standards, but it doesn’t help students learn or teachers improve their ability to make timely teaching adjustments. Accountability without assessment is guesswork; assessment without improvement is a waste of time. America needs a new accountability system.

Although institutions are expected to improve teaching and learning based on assessment results, these assessments only provide evidence at the end of the academic year, restricting any real value in improving learning that could inform teacher practices during the academic year. States require accountability, students deserve a system that helps them learn and enables teachers to adjust their teaching for progress and improvement.

New curriculum-aligned assessments can lead the way in designing a new accountability system that provides useful data, includes evaluation based on what is being taught in the classroom, and supports student growth.

In this edition, let’s explore:

The opportunity to develop a new accountability system will require new approaches. There is room for collaboration and improvement among states, districts, and all of us who support students in their lifelong journey of learning.


Mark A. Elgart, Ed.D.
Mark A. Elgart, Ed.D.,  serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Cognia. Dr. Elgart works closely with government agencies and other leading education-focused organizations to help establish the policies, strategic vision, and actions to propel and transform the learning experience so that every learner is prepared for the rapidly and ever-changing global world. Dr. Elgart provides vision and leadership for a global nonprofit in over 90 countries, 40,000 institutions serving and supporting nearly 18 million students and 5 million educators every day. Cognia is an undeniable force for enhancing schools, engaging students, and driving better outcomes for all learners. Dr. Elgart’s professional experience includes serving as a mathematics and physics teacher; a middle and high school administrator; and a middle school principal. He earned a bachelor’s in mathematics from Springfield College, a master’s in education from Westfield State College, and a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts.