How Cognia is Responding to US K12 Testing Disruptions in the Wake of COVID-19

This post is an excerpt from our recent case study with Cognia™ on their response to the disruptions in US K12 assessment caused by COVID-19. Download the full study and keep reading here

In 2020, as COVID-19 has upended traditional education across the world, many US K12 education leaders are finding themselves navigating uncharted territory as they’re planning for the “new normal” in learning and assessment. With new and changing government requirements dictated almost daily at the district, state and federal levels, and a lack of conformity between how districts are handling student testing during this time, a number of questions and challenges arise.

Find out how Cognia™ and the TAO team at Open Assessment Technologies are working together to support states across the US in the wake of K12 testing disruptions due to COVID-19, and how they are developing contingency plans for moving forward in this uncertain time.


Cognia™ is a global nonprofit that offers accreditation and certification, assessment, professional learning, and improvement services for schools. The result of the merger of AdvancED and Measured Progress, Cognia™ was formed to bridge the gap between school evaluation and student assessment. As the largest education improvement organization in the world, Cognia™ is an undeniable force for enhancing schools, engaging students and driving better outcomes for all.

The Relationship with OAT Begins: Finding an Online Assessment System to Support Alternate Assessments

In 2015, Cognia™ received a state contract requiring an online testing system that could support scaffolding functionality for Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) standardized testing. The MSAA is a comprehensive assessment system designed to promote higher academic outcomes for students with significant cognitive disabilities as they prepare for the future. The necessary scaffolding functionality within the assessment system would remove incorrect answer choices from responses, allowing for second attempts at a question for students with cognitive disabilities.

When Cognia™ began their search for a flexible platform that could support learners of all abilities, TAO emerged as the best solution for a number of reasons:

  • TAO was the only online assessment solution that could support the unique scaffolding functionality required for this specific assessment for students with varying abilities.
  • TAO is built on open standards to evolve to accommodate different assessment styles.
  • TAO is open source – Cognia™ would be able to extend and customize TAO’s open source platform code with enhanced functionality to meet their exact needs.


Responding to Testing Disruptions in the Wake of COVID-19 With little guidance from the federal government in the midst of COVID, many US states have responded differently in their plans for education and assessment after the global shutdowns and testing cancellations. While the US federal government has waived testing requirements for 2020, states can still choose to report their data. However, many states with incomplete testing data have chosen not to do so. This has created a widespread challenge of how to handle planning for the future as well as the validity of this year’s assessments, a conversation state leaders are carrying on.

Download the full study to continue reading…

So how is Cognia™ tackling the uncertainties in today’s unpredictable education landscape? And how are they leveraging TAO for support? Download the full case study to keep reading through their challenges, solutions, and results as they navigate solutions to remain agile and respond to the K12 learning disruption caused by COVID-19.

K12 testing disruptions