A standards-aligned solution to support today’s unprecedented educational challenges.

To address the pandemic’s impact on elementary and secondary schools nationwide, Congress provided billions of dollars in financial support for states, districts and schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund. ESSER gives states the flexibility to deploy assessment tools that can identify and mitigate learning loss.

We understand decisions around spring testing have significant complexities. In the absence of a spring assessment, or with significantly reduced student participation, educators need information to guide resource allocation and instructional planning.

The answer is New Meridian’s Start Strong™ assessment. For states pursuing waivers, a beginning-of-year test can be the foundation of a reliable, data-driven approach to recovery. New Jersey’s assessment plan was given the greenlight by the U.S. Department of Education precisely because the state is administering Start Strong. You can read the letter here.

If you are investigating assessment options, see what Start Strong can do for your state.

“This is an extraordinary moment in history. Teachers and families are being asked to make impossible decisions, and there’s a strong need for data to guide those efforts. Our mission is to provide educators and families with the tools they need to make more informed decisions to support their students.”

Arthur VanderVeen, CEO of New Meridian

The right data is critically important—now more than ever.

Getting students back on track requires data. At New Meridian, we believe that data needs to work hard to be meaningful—it must provide actionable insights that drive your state’s decisions. Start Strong enables states to comply with federal guidance, while removing the logistical barriers of a Spring administration to obtain a clear picture of where students stand in the learning process. Leveraging the flexible, easy-to-use Pearson Access platform, Start Strong can guide resource allocation and instructional planning as the foundation of a reliable, data-driven approach to recovery.

Unlike other interim assessment solutions, New Meridian’s Start Strong Assessment:

  • Is aligned to prior year standards to get a true measure of unfinished learning.
  • Includes full Spanish translation of math items.
  • Is administered using Pearson Access, a single, integrated platform that facilitates rapid reporting.

And, unlike other interim providers and adaptive interim tests, we go beyond basic reporting to provide impactful information that adds value in districts all across your state.

Individual Student Report

Provides insight into the level of support a student is likely to need to individualize instruction.

Item-Level Analyses Report

Provides information about student misconceptions on test items. This supports instructional planning, allowing educators to address standards that may be challenging at the classroom level.

Aggregated Report

Provides data at the class, school and district levels to determine which groups of students are likely to need additional resources.

For State and Local Leaders

Using a common assessment enables education leaders to identify and compare levels of support needed across districts and schools, anywhere in your state. This helps answer questions like:

“Where are the students who need the most support?”

For Teachers

Start Strong reports on individual student performance so teachers can quickly differentiate and prioritize instruction. It provides a view across classes of which standards are most challenging, allowing teachers to direct support for key content areas in aggregate. This helps answer questions like:

“What individual support will this student need to ensure they can be learning at grade level?”

For Parents and Families

Information about student performance promotes parent engagement and more meaningful meetings with teachers. This helps answer questions like:

“How can I best extend learning support from the classroom into the home?”

Experience the benefits of the Start Strong assessment

Strong alignment

Start Strong’s design is based on the most critical content standards from the student’s previous year of learning, allowing educators to quickly identify the areas where more support is needed in the context of the grade-level standards.

Quick delivery

The assessment is designed to be delivered in a class period. This expedites access to quality assessment information to help educators plan their lessons and units.

Fast feedback

Start Strong’s multiple-choice and technology-enhanced assessment items are machine scorable, offering teachers, schools and districts fast feedback on where students stand in the learning process.

Ultimate flexibility

Start Strong offers seamless online delivery via the Pearson Access platform and it can be administered at school or at home, allowing educators to gather assessment data regardless of the circumstances in your state when school starts.

Dedicated support

Expert consultation, training and a full suite of documentation are built into the Start Strong assessment, allowing for quick and seamless implementation.

Additional Resources

COVID Academic recovery

The Equity Paradox

The ongoing impact of the pandemic on our educational systems is certainly unprecedented, with remote learning continuing longer into the 2020-2021 school year than most would have thought possible when COVID struck. Time out of the classroom, away from educators and the structure and support systems they provide to students, has dramatically slowed student learning—so much so that researchers are labeling this phenomenon the “COVID slide.”

Start Strong Assessment Gets Good Grades in New Jersey

New Meridian’s Start Strong Assessment, a beginning-of-year test that takes a single class period and delivers quick feedback, received high marks from educators in a preliminary New Meridian survey.

Nearly three quarters (74 percent) said the Start Strong results were helpful in making instructional decisions for individual students and even more (76 percent) said the same for groups of students or entire classes.

“Our goal is to provide educators with powerful, easy-to-use tools to help their students learn. Input from teachers, administrators and assessment coordinators is absolutely essential. The administration of Start Strong in New Jersey has helped a great deal.”

Kristopher John, Vice President, Product Strategy

Start School With a Functional, Fast-Scoring Test

Start Strong has been administered almost 80,000 times in real-world conditions, drawing high marks from educators in post-assessment surveys. Teachers, administrators and assessment coordinators found it was easy to use and helped guide instruction for individual students, groups and entire classes.

Partner with New Meridian and get the data you need to start the school year off right. With Start Strong, you can see where students stand and get the information needed to make better decisions. Contact us today to learn more about the Start Strong Assessment and how it can help support your state on the road to recovery.