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Director of Assessment

Montana Office of Public Instruction
Helena, Montana or Remote
$79,872 plus excellent healthcare and retirement benefits
Posted Date
Aug 26, 2022

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STATE OF MONTANA                           


Montana state government is an equal opportunity employer.  The State shall, upon request, provide reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities.

Job Title:  Director of Assessment                            Position Number:    00620

Location:  Helena                                                      Department:  OPI     

Section and Unit:  Assessment Unit

Job Overview:

The State Assessment Director (Director) manages and leads all facets of the MontCAS to ensure the alignment of the statewide assessments with Montana’s content standards and the technical quality of the assessments to produce valid and reliable results. The Director is responsible for MontCAS program design, policy, test administration, scoring, reporting and other technical matters, technical assistance to schools, assessment publications, and communications with stakeholders. This position has primary responsibility for directing and overseeing contracts and other agreements with assessment vendors and multi-state consortia for the administration of statewide assessments to all students, for the setting of academic achievement standards, and for the reporting of assessment results. The Director also oversees the creation and delivery of professional development to K–12 educators on a range of topics related to test administration including, test administration, test security, selecting and requesting accommodations, and reporting and interpreting test results. Results from the system are used for school and district accountability purposes.

The Director maintains regular communication with system test coordinators in Montana’s 300+ school systems through various means including e-mails, monthly assessment newsletter, monthly webinars, site visits, and annual assessment conference. The Director communicates directly with agency leadership regarding assessment policies, test administration, including testing irregularities, and reporting of results.

The Director manages 5.0 full-time staff that provide trainings and technical assistance to school districts. The annual budget for the Assessment unit is approximately $4 million. Most of the funding is provided by a federal assessment grant. State general fund monies support a portion of the staffing in the Assessment unit.

 Major Duties or Responsibilities:

Program Administration and Planning                                                   60%

  • Researches the requirements for the design of a statewide student assessment system.
  • Establishes multi-year plans for the delivery of student assessments that ensure the technical quality of the assessments to produce valid and reliable results.
  • Serves as the K-12 state lead representing Montana in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Multi-State Alternate Assessment collaborative.
  • Identifies psychometricians and other assessment experts to advise the agency and serve on the technical advisory committees for the assessment programs included in MontCAS.
  • Develops a Training plan and program t in compliance with industry standards and best practices.
  • Ensures that test administration processes and manuals meet federal and Montana-specific requirements.
  • Oversees the preparation of the agency’s submission for the peer review by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Coordinates with other divisions within the agency to meet testing requirements and protocols, including accommodations; register students for assessments; manage, store and report assessment results; and develop secure online tools for posting and querying assessment data.
  • Manages data processes and procedures specific to assessment.
  • Promotes understanding of online assessment platforms and device challenges.
  • Plans and directs an annual assessment conference.
  • Keeps informed of federal and state legislation related to student assessment Initiates grant applications for specialized assessment projects and partners with other states on grants.
  • Develops assessment-related budget requests.
  • Develops solicitations for testing vendors to provide summative and interim assessments and formative classroom tools. The solicitation for testing vendors describes the requirements for project management, test delivery (including online and paper/pencil assessments), training and practice tests, help desk support, testing manuals, item scoring, reporting, and analysis and psychometric support.
  • Works with the Montana Department of Administration is releasing requests for proposals and selecting a successful bidder.
  • Oversees multiple contracts with multiple vendors and manages each contract for satisfaction of contract deliverables and payments to the contractor. Prepares contract amendments related to a change of scope or an extension of timelines.
  • Consults and draw upon a national network of assessment directors and experts to ensure that Montana is following best practices in developing solicitations and managing testing contracts.
  • Manages assessment projects by tracking the completion of contract requirements, timelines, budgets, and payments.
  • Requests staff and financial resources necessary to meet project goals and contract specifications.
  • Reviews and requests amendments to the written agreements for participating in multi-state assessment consortia.

Unit Supervision and Management                                             20%  

  • Supervises five full-time assessment staff and recruits and hires part-time staff, as needed.
  • Develops, modifies, and maintains accurate position descriptions.
  • Recruits and hires staff; provides for training, technical education, and professional development.
  • Develops work plans with employees to meet the goals, objectives, and timelines of the work unit in alignment with the agency vision, mission, goals, and evaluates employee performance relative to the established goals.
  • Ensures staff follows all security practices for the protection of testing instruments and the protection of student privacy.
  • Uses proper budget and accounting procedures for the use and accountability of the multi-million-dollar federal assessment grant.
  • Demonstrates effective leadership skills and knowledge of effective personnel practices.
  • Establishes professional goals that address daily growth in leadership, management, processes, and other areas related to the work responsibilities.
  • Demonstrates a growth mindset and the ability to not only ensure compliance with required assessment factors but also demonstrates the ability to innovate and reimagine the assessment unit’s work.

Communications and Reporting                                                  10%

  • Provides regular updates to senior management about the assessment programs, including the nature and types of assessment, trends in student performance, testing timelines, any major problems related to contract management or test delivery, staffing and budget needs, and responses from the K-12 school systems.
  • Reports to the state Board of Public Education on developments and trends in statewide student assessment.
  • Communicates regularly with the Communications Director on the progress of the test administration and reporting of test scores.
  • Works with the Communication Director to respond to requests from the media.
  • Communicates regularly with school leaders, test coordinators, test administrators regarding testing schedules, registering students for the assessments, accommodations, scoring and reporting, and opportunities for educators to participate in item development, standard setting, and other consortium activities.
  • Coordinates training and assistance to school personnel related to data collection and validation, testing platforms, test security, interpretation of results, assessment policies, and best practices.
  • Develops communication tools such as webinars, videos, online courses, and infographics to be shared online.
  • Maintains the assessment section of the OPI website with relevant and current testing information. Works closely with assessment staff in other states that belong to the same consortia as Montana.
  • Presents at state and national meetings and conferences

D.  Other Duties as Assigned                                                                                     10%

Physical and Environmental Demands:    This position generally works in a typical office setting.  5% travel is required. Extended workday is frequently required to support department work. This position frequently handles sensitive or high-profile situations. The extended hours and nature of the work may be stressful at times. 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (Behaviors):


Required for the first day of work:

  • Skills implementing visionary leadership strategies Knowledge of personnel management practices and techniques
  • Understand methods to create, implement and assess work plans
  • Understand structure of state and local government
  • Understand the budget process
  • Knowledge of state and federal laws
  • Knowledge of grant administration
  • Skills in supervising staff with different levels of responsibility
  • Knowledge of motivation and supervision.
  • Skill in representing the agency and division as a good partner with intra-and inter agency groups.
  • Understanding of principles of teaching and learning
  • Knowledge of school systems Knowledge of the process of aligning curriculum to standards
  • Understanding of the role of the Board of Public Education and the Office of Public Instruction in adopting standards and other administrative rules.


The number of employees directly supervised is: 5

Minimum Qualifications (Education and Experience):

  •  Bachelor’s degree in education, research, statistics, or related degree.
  • Three years’ experience working in education in the K-12 school system and experiences in assessment, measurement, or related field.
  • Five years’ experience in large-scale assessment at the district or state level.
  • Other combinations of related education and experience may be considered on a case-by-case basis.


  • Master’s degree in education, research, statistics, or related degree.

This position is available for either in-person or telework.


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