Every summer Measured Progress welcomes a few standout doctoral students to join the psychometrics team, through the Nambury Raju Internship Program. The program gives up-and-coming psychometricians a chance to put their coursework to practical use, and keeps Measured Progress psychometricians connected to current university programs in the field. This year, we welcomed two accomplished students to the program.
The past 15 years have seen a lot of changes in statewide accountability testing. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) increased federal control over state assessment programs and increased stakes associated with test results. The Obama administration’s Race to the Top program further raised the stakes by incentivizing the adoption of common college-readiness standards and assessments and the significant weighing of student test results in teacher evaluations.
If you work in assessment, you know that the answer to this question is far from simple. Early this month our director of Psychometrics, Dr. Jennifer Dunn, gave a talk at TEDxPiscataquaRiver in Portsmouth, NH. Titled “Using Data to Motivate Change,” Dr. Dunn described her own introduction to psychometrics, and how the challenge of measuring the intangible—what a person knows—captured her interest. Here are some of the main points of her talk.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS*) demand a shift in how educators approach science education. This shift includes an emphasis on the integration of three dimensions: to incorporate an understanding of how scientists and engineers think and act with the learning progression of science content. Students need opportunities to engage in learning that blend all three dimensions of the standards:
Measured Progress is really excited about our new partnership with Activate Learning, the publisher of IQWST (Investigating & Questioning our World through Science & Technology). Activate Learning is one of the leading middle school science curricula providers in the US. Their inquiry-based approach engages students in doing science. The partnership was announced on March 31, 2016 at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in Nashville. Since then, we’ve been working side-by-side on a correlation document to show how our two products, IQWST and STEM Gauge®, come together in the classroom to provide a complete solution for full NGSS* alignment.
Recently Parcc, Inc. reported student performance differences on the Spring 2015 PARCC® assessments based on the mode of testing: online or paper. Benjamin Herold summarized the findings in two recent Education Week articles. He reported that the pattern of lower student performance for those taking the computer-based tests was most pronounced in English Language Arts and middle- and high-school mathematics (Herold, 2016a). Parcc, Inc. has not yet released research evidence or announced a plan to conduct research that may explain the mode differences. Herold reported that Parcc, Inc. is asking participating states to examine the differences and draw conclusions appropriate for their context.
Measured Progress was a sponsor of the recent Education Week event, Leaders to Learn From, where thirteen school-district leaders from around the country were recognized for their vision, hard work, and impact. These are the innovators that seek to improve the lives of their students, teachers, families, and communities. Listening to the leaders describe their work, we were inspired to hear what district administrators can accomplish—in spite of major obstacles like budget cuts, staffing shortages, and more.
The 1061 pages of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) address a wide range of topics that educators and policy makers need to understand. In many ways, the law appears much the same as the previous ESEA reauthorization, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The requirements for common, challenging academic standards and for common assessments in certain grades and subjects remain the same. So do the requirements for standards and assessments for students with disabilities and English language learners. Within those pages, though, are noteworthy changes in the law relating to statewide accountability assessment.