COVID-19 Assessment Guidance


Assessment Guidelines

Many different assessments are administered throughout a typical school year. Each has a slightly different intent or reasoning behind it.  The purpose of this section is to share information on the different types of assessments, as well as share suggestions and resources for schools to consider when planning re-entry.  Please consider the guidance in this CCSSO document dealing with Assessment Considerations for Fall 2020 along with information provided below

Research indicates that learning gaps will widen and become more prevalent due to the effects of COVID-19 on instruction.  Assessments can be used to help identify learning gaps; however, if not all learning gaps can be addressed, a prioritization of target gaps and instruction should be utilized to re-align the student on a grade-level path.  Creating or administering an assessment that is closely aligned to target gaps, or essential standards, is a suggested practice.  Assessments that are specific, can be administered in a timely fashion, and provide valuable/instant feedback for teachers will be most beneficial in finding and addressing learning gaps.

Summative Assessments

Out of the three groups of assessments discussed in this section, summative assessments are the least helpful in a re-entry situation. They do not provide a detailed source of diagnostic information to help drive instruction.  Experts are discouraging the use of standardized summative assessments to be given upon re-entry (i.e., administering the Spring NDSA of 2020 during the fall of 2020). Summative assessments serve a valid role in education, but there are better solutions when it comes to identifying and targeting learning gaps with timely feedback. Instruction time is a valuable resource, and it is best not to use it on a standardized, summative assessment.

Districts should prepare to administer the annual state assessments in 2020-2021.  Research and communications are ongoing to determine how administration can be completed as well as flexibilities that can be granted to help complete administration.

Interim Assessments

There is a strong possibility that useful information can be gleaned from previously administered interim assessments.  Administering an early interim assessment in the beginning of the school year is becoming a practice suggested by experts. Ideally, if multiple interim assessments were administered in the previous school year, administering an additional interim assessment in the fall could help identify problem areas for an entire group of students. This could also reveal trend data on specific concepts, or areas that need to be re-taught.  Other interim assessments, such as semester exams or unit tests, may also provide beneficial information.

Formative or Diagnostic Assessments

Formative assessments typically offer immediate feedback, can be given quickly, and are generally specific in meeting students’ different needs. This type of assessment can play a vital role in identifying specific learning gaps of each individual student.  A priority should be placed on guidance for using, creating, selecting, administering, and interpreting key formative assessments early in the 2020-21 school year. 

There are two main types of formative assessments: Formal and informal. Below are examples of each type of assessments. 


  • Vendor provided diagnostic assessments (iReady, ACT Aspire, NWEA-MAP, etc.) (see COVID-19 Response: Diagnostic Assessment for further examples and information)
  • Assessments given within instructional/support programs (DLM, Read Right, My Foundations lab, MyACT, etc.)
  • Textbook/teacher created unit test
  • Textbook/teacher created chapter or section test
  • Grades, results, scores from previous school year
  • Any teacher created test/online test (standards based)


  • Quizzes, oral Q/A, flashcards
  • Student self-evaluation
  • Pair and Share with classmate
  • Brainstorming or Brain dump
  • KWL Chart
  • Sticky note response to question on board
  • Mastery checklist of concepts/standards from previous grade
  • Presentations or debates

Guiding Questions

  • Is there assessment plain in place to help identify where students are at academically and to help identify learning gaps/drive instruction?
  • Does the assessment plan include the use of interim and/or formative assessments or screeners?
  • Will an assessment or pre-assessment be administered within the first weeks of school?
  • Does the assessment plan concentrate on informing instruction rather than larger scale, evaluation outcomes or to predict predetermined goals?
  • Do the assessments that are planned for the upcoming school year concentrate on diagnosing academic, cognitive, or social-emotional strengths and weaknesses and provide timely, yet useful, instructional information?
  • In the event instruction is conducted via distance learning or a hybrid model, does this modify how students will be assessed?
  • Does the assessment plan account for unique needs of students?
  • Are teachers prepared to use the information and data from your planned assessments and able to adjust curriculum accordingly?

Due to the closure of North Dakota schools, NDDPI made the decision to cancel all ACT Makeup State Testing dates for this past spring. NDDPI instead offered state paid vouchers for juniors to test on either the June 13, 2020 or July 18, 2020 national ACT test dates.  While some of our juniors were able to register for and test on these dates, many others were not.  Several test sites throughout the state cancelled due to concerns for COVID 19 and others were required to reduce their testing capacity in order to meet state guidelines. 

To ensure our 19-20 juniors are provided an opportunity to take the ACT for free, NDDPI has worked with ACT to once again be able to offer state paid vouchers for an ACT national test date this fall.  These vouchers will be offered only to last year’s (19-20) juniors who missed the initial ACT test date of March 3, 2020 and who were not able to test this summer.  The vouchers will work for any of the September or October national test dates listed below.  ACT has added additional national testing opportunities in both of these months.

Fall Test Dates:

  • September 12 and 19
  • October 10, 17, and 24

NDDPI is currently working with ACT to obtain these new vouchers.  Students may not use previously provided vouchers as these were only good for June and July.  As a reminder, students must sign up for the ACT Plus Writing. 

Schools should email the NDDPI Assessment Office by Wednesday, July 31, 2020, to request vouchers for their (19-20) juniors who were not able to test on the initial state ACT test date or on the June/July national ACT test dates.  In the email, please provide the number of juniors who need vouchers for the September or October national test dates.  Only one voucher will be allowed per student, but vouchers will work for any of the dates listed above.  We hope to have the new vouchers by the end of July and will email them as soon as possible.  ACT registration for fall national testing will open around July 27, 2020.

ACT is also allowing schools to become unlisted test sites again for the fall tests.  If you are interested in becoming an unlisted test site to provide the ACT (national test) to your students this fall, email:   

Seniors in the class of 2020 needing to meet the qualifying ACT scores in order to receive the State Academic or CTE Scholarship will have until the end of August to submit these scores for scholarship eligibility. The scholarship application deadline was June 5, however seniors have until August 31, 2020 to add ACT exam scores to complete their application.

For questions, please contact the Assessment Office.

ACT WorkKeys

Governor Burgum has issued Executive Order 2020-4.2, which allows schools to be opened on a limited basis starting June 1, 2020.  This order includes the administration of WorkKeys exams.

Seniors in the class of 2020 needing to meet qualifying WorkKeys scores in order to receive the state CTE Scholarship will have until the end of August to submit these scores for scholarship eligibility. The scholarship application deadline is June 5, however seniors will have until August 31, 2020 to add WorkKeys exam scores to complete their application.

If you have further questions, please contact the Assessment Office.



Window closed on February 21, 2020.


Individual GED testing locations may be closed due to their contingency plans. Please call ahead.

AP Central College Board Updated Guidance on Advanced Placement Exams

AP Exam Dates for 2020-2021

  • Testing Dates: May 3-7, 2021 and May 10-14, 2021
  • Late Testing Dates: May 18-21, 2021

AP Exams for 2020-2021

  • Exams will match the traditional published exam description and be designed to cover the full course content and skills.
  • Currently the exam will support an in-school model when given in the spring of 2021.
  • If a school district needs to reduce the number of students present, the exams will have two dates set to bring students in to test.
  • If schools need to close again, a contingency testing option will be shared that covers the full course content in early 2021.

 If you have questions or concerns, please contact Davonne Eldredge.

NAEP Updates

States across the country have been updated on the current status of NAEP 2021.  The National Governing Board (NAGB) has decided that NAEP voluntary assessments scheduled for 2021 will be postponed to a later date; NAEP will not administer civics and U.S. history grade 8 and long-term trend age 17 assessments in 2021. The mandated NAEP assessments, mathematics and reading grades 4 and 8, remain on schedule for 2021.

In response to the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, we continue to make determinations about the implementation of the 2021 NAEP assessments. The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) and Congress are considering if NAEP should be administered in 2021 and, if so, at what level of implementation. Possible levels of implementation include a full administration with national, state, and Trial Urban District (TUDA) level results or a reduced administration, with national and limited state results and no TUDA findings. Regardless of the level of implementation, factors such as health and safety risks and data quality are paramount in decision making about 2021 NAEP mathematics and reading assessments. NCES expects a final determination in August 2020. We will be sure to keep you informed of the decisions as they become available.”