Far too often school success is by chance, dependent upon what family you were born into or where you live. For the states, districts, and schools we work with, improvement is more than just testing and collecting data, and school quality is about more than how good one school is compared to one down the street or even across the world. It’s about helping a student improve in their learning so that he or she is prepared and ready for their future. Schools need help in understanding and navigating forward from improving what they do each and every day to understanding the results they’re getting with learners.


We know we can measure what kids learn. We know we can measure the teaching and learning factors that determine whether schools are effective. The challenge lies in knowing how assessment and school quality come together to inform and guide improvement efforts in a way that helps a child learn better. While high-quality balanced assessments for accountability remain necessary, the promise of the future lies in providing assessments to help children learn.

What we must do is solve a longstanding problem in education—how to actually help students improve their learning. In this edition of The Source, we look at the Future of Assessment:

Schools are struggling to acquire purposeful and meaningful knowledge that has evaded them. They want to understand how data and evidence come together in a way that actionable steps can be taken in the classroom so that every individual child’s needs are met. Today’s challenges in improving learning are tomorrow’s opportunity for innovation.

Mark A. Elgart, Ed.D.
Dr. Mark A. Elgart has served as president and CEO of Cognia since 2002. Under his leadership Cognia was established, following the merger of AdvancED and Measured Progress, to bridge the gap between school evaluation and student assessment.  Cognia serves as the trusted partner with over 36,000 institutions in 85 countries to advance learning for 25 million students.  Elgart has a long, distinguished career of 40 years as an educational leader including time as a math and physics teacher, school principal, and chief executive leading a global, education non-profit.  He is annually recognized, both locally and internationally, as an influential leader in education due to his impact on education policy and the work of schools.  He is an internationally recognized speaker on education and frequent author on educational issues including recent whitepapers on federal policy and school improvement.  In education, Elgart is widely viewed as the foremost authority on school improvement and education quality.  Elgart earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Springfield College, Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Westfield State College, and Doctorate in Education in Leadership in Schooling from the University of Massachusetts.