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This month we’re reading new reports exploring: the best use of assessment in 2021 and beyond; diversity in teacher preparation programs; and COVID-19’s impact on the future of work.

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Can assessment advance teaching and learning and reduce educational inequities? In the near term, what are the best “uses” of assessment in 2021? To help answer these questions the National Academy of Education (NAEd) convened a group of scholars, policy leaders, and educators for a discussion of the “how” and “why” of testing in both the contexts of the special circumstances of 2021 and beyond. A new summary report contains overarching themes of the conversation as well as a set of goals for assessments beyond 2021 that include: the development and implementation of culturally- and racially-responsive, curriculum-embedded, balanced assessment systems; the implementation of equitable educational assessments; and clear and frequent communication about the intended purposes and uses of particular assessments.

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A new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) examines the interplay between racial diversity and admissions standards in teacher preparation programs. Teacher Prep Review: Program Diversity and Admissions 2021 compares the diversity of teacher preparation program enrollment to the diversity of the current state teacher workforce as well as the local community in which the programs reside. The report dismantles the myth that selectivity and diversity are at odds, identifying “..198 programs in the nation that are both sufficiently selective and remarkably diverse, three times more than those that are neither selective nor diverse.” NCTQ has also released a new interactive tool to help visualize the data from the report. Users can sort through data on racial diversity in teacher prep enrollment, the state teacher workforce, and state and local community populations for all the institutions assessed in the study.

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As part of a series of three reports that examine aspects of the post-pandemic economy, McKinsey & Company released The Future of Work After COVID-19. The report assesses “the lasting impact of the pandemic on labor demand, the mix of occupations, and the workforce skills required in eight countries with diverse economic and labor market models: China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.”