Conference Season is Upon Us

Mar 28, 2019

Center Associates Prepare for the NCME and AERA Annual Meetings in Toronto

Warmer days, daffodils in bloom, and birds singing can only mean one thing besides the beginning of spring. It’s also the beginning of another busy conference season–and Center associates are hard at work fine-tuning their presentations.

The season kicked off last week with the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) Innovations in Testing Conference in Orlando. Leslie Keng answered the ATP call to “Challenge the status quo. Transform your space (thinking). Evolve the world of testing.” Leslie discussed his work with Center partner New Meridian on the Quality Testing Standards (QTS) framework described in his recent blog post.

Next, the annual meetings of the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) take place in Leslie’s hometown of Toronto. The Center will be well-represented at these meetings, sharing our latest thinking on the issues in assessment and accountability that we have been discussing on CenterLine over the last six months.

Leslie will once again address the Quality Testing Standards and guidance for states that wish to make comparability claims to an established assessment scale. He will be joined by colleagues Tracy Gardner (New Meridian), Nathan Minchen (Pearson), Stephen Murphy (Measured Progress), and Art Thacker (HumRRo) in a coordinated session titled Pioneering a New Approach to Test Design and Development, which will address states’ needs for assessment solutions that are innovative and flexible. 

Catch this session on Sunday, April 7 at 5:05pm in Manitoba at the Fairmont Royal York.

Leslie and Joseph Martineau will share their innovative work supporting a state in its effort to design, implement, and set achievement standards for a kindergarten assessment program intended to assess its students at two points in time–upon entry to kindergarten and at the end of kindergarten. The session will focus on solutions for three difficult areas of a kindergarten assessment: development, standard setting, and reporting. They will describe the hybrid method used for standard setting and the adaptable tool that made it feasible to use an appropriate standard setting methodology aligned with the content and claims of the assessment. 

Catch this session on Saturday, April 6 at 2:15pm in Salon B at the Fairmont Royal York.

Scott Marion, Joseph Martineau, Nathan Dadey, Jeri Thompson, and Carla Evans are joined by discussant Jim Pellegrino to address  A Tricky Balance: The Challenges and Opportunities of Balanced Systems of Assessment in a coordinated session that expands on the work they presented at the Reidy Interactive Lecture Series (RILS) in September 2018, and shared through CenterLine.  

The session will begin with a conceptualization and definition of balanced assessment systems, with an emphasis on the factors that have likely prevented implementation. They will discuss five critical factors that hinder assessment system design and implementation: 

  1. The politics and policy of assessment systems; 
  2. The commercialization, proliferation, and incoherence of assessments; 
  3. Interim assessments and modularity; 
  4. Lack of attention to learning and curriculum; and 
  5. Low levels of assessment literacy

Catch this session on Saturday, April 6 at 10:25am in the Ballroom at the Fairmont Royal York.

Brian Gong will serve as discussant for the coordinated session Blending Evidence-Centered Design and Universal Design for Learning in Next-Generation Science Assessment. The session, chaired by Meagan Karvonen (The University of Kansas) will present implementation and evaluation of activities from a current USED Enhanced Assessment Grant. This session will address innovations in several aspects of assessment system design in the context of a next generation science assessment based on alternate achievement standards. 

Catch this session on Saturday, April 6 at 10:25am in Manitoba at the Fairmont Royal York.

Scott Marion gets another chance to express his views on high school testing, but this time he will be challenged in an invited debate on the pros and cons of Using the ACT and SAT for Accountability Under ESSA. Scott will team with C. Dale Whittington (Retired) in opposing the use of the ACT and SAT in Accountability. The case supporting the use of the ACT and SAT will be offered by Denny Way (College Board) and Wayne Camara (ACT).  

Catch this session on Sunday, April 7 at 5:05pm in Salon B at the Fairmont Royal York.

Acknowledging the Work of Our 2018 Center Interns

Finally, we are excited that the fruits of our 2018 summer internship program will also be on display at the conference with presentations by Center interns Mary Norris (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) and Jiajun Xu (University of Georgia).

Mary Norris and Brian Gong will provide guidance on creating claims about student performance on the NGSS in their paper Thinking About Claims for Assessments of the Next Generation Science Standards. They present seven aspects of quality for describing performance, analyze types of claims that can be supported, and illustrate the application of novice/expert science research literature to create sample claims about the NGSS. 

Catch this session on Saturday, April 6 at 8:00am in Manitoba at the Fairmont Royal York.

Jiajun Xu and Nathan Dadey present findings of their analyses examining an exploratory way to summarize multiple modular assessments from a large-scale, operational program of interim assessment in a paper title Using Bayesian Networks to Characterize Student Performance on Multiple Assessments of Standards. They follow a data-driven approach to best reflect the empirical relationships among these assessments, and a learning progression approach to provide insight into student learning. Nathan introduced the concept of getting summative information from a set of multiple modular assessments, or mini-assessments, in a recent blog post. In another post, he offers guide rails to states seeking to meet ESSA requirements while using such a system of mini-assessments. 

Catch this session on Monday, April 8 at 4:10pm in Territories at the Fairmont Royal York.

We’re Just Getting Started

Toronto is just the beginning of spring and summer seasons full of conference presentations by Center associates highlighted by the milestone conferences, the Council of Chief State School Offers (CCSSO) National Conference on Student Assessment in June, the NCME Special Conference on Classroom Assessment in September, and of course, our own RILS 2019 Conference, which will be held September 26-27 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 

Continue to follow CenterLine for updates on our participation in these conferences and our ongoing work on innovative assessments, assessment systems, and accountability.