Assessment Design and Evaluation

The assessment of student learning is at the heart of the education enterprise. The field is in significant flux as researchers, policymakers, and school staff members struggle to identify the best way to assess what students know.

SRI has an impressive history of innovative assessment design. We lead the application of new and existing methods and technologies. SRI researchers help clients design effective assessments and document development procedures to support assessment validity.

SRI's work addresses design, implementation, and technical quality issues, incorporating the Principled Assessment Designs for Inquiry (PADI) approach. SRI researchers conduct, research, and review classroom, state, national, and international assessments in partnership with government and educational agencies, foundations, and commercial firms.

SRI specializes in the assessment of students with special needs, and in assessments involving new technologies, allowing clients to

  • Measure learning that matters, but is not measured by conventional multiple-choice tests

  • Validate the quality of assessments

  • Adapt assessments to better serve learners with disabilities

  • Help teachers use assessments to improve instruction and student learning outcomes


kindergarten students listening to a story read by a teacher

SRI Education is leading Task Order 17 case studies for the U.S. Department of Education's Policy and Program Studies Service on the implementation of Kindergarten Entry Assessments (KEA) in four states at the forefront of implementation.

SAVE diagram

The SAVE framework supports training in virtual environments through automated assessment of learner performance and tools for content authoring.

boy and girl student looking at a computer screen together

SRI is integrating best practices in technology-supported instructional design and formative assessment to study students’ conceptual understanding of genetics.

girls working on a project together

The InnovaTE3 curriculum uses a cradle-to-cradle paradigm (rather than cradle to grave) to intrigue and challenge high school girls to develop ecologically sustainable innovations.

mother holding young son in her arms

SRI is studying the quality of child outcomes data reported by states to the federal government under Part C and Part B Preschool services of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Press Releases

students working at computers

The combination of teacher-led and online instruction may improve education, but successful implementation requires adequate infrastructure, reliable technology, quality software content, and changes in classroom management practices, according to new SRI research.

Jeremy Roschelle, Ph.D.

Jeremy Roschelle, Ph.D., co-director of SRI’s Center for Technology in Learning, highlighted how education researchers can best leverage the vast amount of data about online learning that is now available for their studies.

Teacher with young students

SRI researchers are beginning an evaluation of the Midwest Expansion of the Child-Parent Center (CPC) program, an intervention that provides comprehensive educational and family-support services to at-risk pre-kindergarten through third-grade children.

SRI In the News

high school students in a classroom

The article notes that according to the NLTS2 longitudinal study directed by SRI, many learning-disabled students do not actively seek out the supports they need to succeed in college.

The STEMGenetics curriculum, which includes growing plants and using genetic information to predict their traits, was developed by Michelle Williams, associate professor of science education at MSU, and Angela DeBarger, senior research scientist with SRI International.

STEMGenetics is a hands-on teaching program developed by science education professor Michelle Williams and Angela Haydel DeBarger, a senior education research scientist at SRI International.


With funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, SRI's Center for Technology in Learning studied the adoption of blended learning models in selected schools in California and Louisiana associated with five different charter management organizations during the 2011-12 school year.

For the Meeting Challenging Writing Standards in High-Need Schools evaluation, SRI conducted a randomized controlled trial to estimate the effects of the SEED professional development on teachers’ writing instruction and student argument writing across a national sample of elementary schools.

For the Meeting Challenging Writing Standards in High-Need Schools evaluation, SRI conducted a randomized controlled trial to estimate the effects of the SEED professional development on teachers’ writing instruction and student argument writing across a national sample of elementary schools.

This report presents results from the Ready To Learn Prekindergarten Transmedia Mathematics Study. Researchers found that preschool children who experienced a PBS KIDS Transmedia Math Supplement developed essential early mathematics skills.

Community colleges and their industry partners need insight into how to coordinate their resources to address changing workforce training needs. This poster illustrates how to check progress in building partnership capital and updating instructional programming.

Workforce educators have a range of approaches for developing and updating instructional programs that meet the needs of employers and industry. SRI researchers are conducting case studies of how such partnerships are established and sustained.

Contextualized instruction involves developing activities that involve students in applying knowledge in real-world situations, working on teams, reflecting on what they learned through an activity, and involves teachers in coaching more, which requires more formative assessment.

This report examines how community college and industry experts rated a problem-based learning curriculum. The report indicates that industry experts and instructors diverge in their expectations about how "real-world," problem-based learning curriculum needs to be.

The Domain-Specific Assessment project developed a set of tools and assessment items that measure students’ capacity to apply knowledge rather than simply memorize vast amounts of it. An overview of the approach to the methodology is presented in this paper.

Blog Posts

What will the future of blended learning look like? How will it be implemented?

Key U.S. job growth over the coming decade will be in middle-skill jobs that require some college. With low public awareness, it is hard for students to see pathways to opportunities. We see promise through collaborations among industry and community college stakeholders.