By Zac Henrich
July 30, 2020 | News

MZD selected to Help the Colorado Department of Education Deploy Performance Assessment Initiative

August 4, 2020

MZD, the provider of classroom performance assessment tool OSCAR Classroom, announced its selection to provide performance assessment scoring and reporting solutions for the Colorado Department of Education (CDE).

In 2015, the Colorado State Board of Education added Collaboratively-developed, Standards-based Performance Assessments to the Graduation Guidelines Menu of Assessment Demonstration Options. The proposed performance assessments are intended to provide districts with a unique and authentic assessment option for students to demonstrate graduation readiness and serve as an opportunity for students to engage in and reveal deeper learning.

Over the last several years, the CDE has worked collaboratively with district staff, content experts, students, high school building leaders, higher education representatives, and workforce representatives to define the necessary conditions that must exist in order for performance assessment practices to be successful in Colorado schools and districts.

These leaders are dedicated to building the foundational components and structures that are required in order to have a high quality performance assessment system in a classroom, school and district and will remain focused on further refinement of these foundational components and structures, and on implementation efforts as educators begin to use the resources. As the education system evolves to one that is truly student-centered and equity-focused, the CDE will continue to support high quality practices and processes.

In support of the Collaboratively-developed Standards-based Performance assessment option CDE selected MZD’s OSCAR Classroom.  The innovative software provides comprehensive reporting, performance assessment management, consistent grading, teacher development and future scalability. OSCAR Classroom is designed to make managing and grading performance assessment possible for teachers at the classroom level and make it easy and efficient. This platform utilizes various portfolio scoring, integrates seamlessly with Google Drive, supports multimedia (video, pdf, images, audio, text), and accepts direct uploads from teachers. OSCAR Classroom was recently adopted by the Michigan Assessment Consortium (MAC) to be used in the Michigan Arts and Education Instruction and Assessment program.

“We are thrilled to offer Colorado educators OSCAR Classroom, a platform that was designed and built to support collaborative creation and scoring of performance assessments.  Enabling educators from across the state to develop, deliver and score high quality performance assessments will allow students to participate in real-world scenarios and measure students content knowledge and essential skills in an authentic manner”  – Angela Landrum – Principal Consultant Assessment Unit, Colorado Department of Education

Zac Henrich, CEO of MZD said, “We are excited to have been selected by the Colorado Department of Education to deliver a solution (at scale) that will allow performance assessment authoring and collaborative scoring. The CDE initiative aligns perfectly to our mission and more importantly will give students an opportunity to show their knowledge through real world activities that align to activities they will be asked to do after graduation. OSCAR Classroom was designed to help teachers create and deploy innovative assessments. The MZD team is really excited to play a part in enabling students the ability to fulfil a graduation requirement by completing a quality performance assessment.

About Colorado Department of Education

It is the vision of Colorado Department of Education that all students graduate ready for college and careers and are prepared to be productive citizens of Colorado. The mission of the Colorado Department of Education is to ensure equity and opportunity for every student, every step of the way.

Key initiatives that support CDE’s organizational excellence include: supporting high quality early learning and literacy for all students, expanding access and opportunity for historically underserved students,​ prioritizing and maximizing support for schools and districts identified for academic improvements, expanding high school options to ensure all students are ready for college and/or living-wage jobs and ​ developing a strong pipeline of high-quality teachers and Principals while providing deeper support for school and district leaders.

About MZD, Inc.

MZD, Inc., based in Iowa, was founded in 2015 by a group of individuals who collectively have over 75 years of experience in the online assessment and performance scoring industry. MZD is focused on a single mission: delivering solutions that make Performance Assessments a reality for organizations of all sizes. The first product, OSCAR, was launched in 2015 and is currently in use with leading districts and test assessment organizations throughout the country.