Here Comes the Sun – Educational Conferences on Research and Testing are Back!

Apr 06, 2021

Educational Conferences are a Welcome Break from the Long Winter

The arrival of spring brings with it Spring 2021 educational conferences – another sign that we may be moving out of the extended COVID-19 winter. Among the first events canceled last spring, annual educational research and testing conferences are returning this spring, albeit with virtual formats. Center professionals welcome these opportunities to share our work with the broader academic and practice communities and to learn about the latest thinking and research that will shape our future. In this post, we highlight the presentations that Center associates and former interns will be making at the April round of conferences. A second post later this spring will cover conferences scheduled for June and the summer months.

Overview of Upcoming Educational Conferences

The work of several Center team members and interns is featured at three conferences in April:

  • American Educational Research Association (AERA) – April 8 – 12
  • Association of Test Publishers Innovations in Testing 2021 (ATP) – April 27-29
  • New England Educational Research Organization (NEERO) – April 28-30

Center for Assessment internships often culminate with the preparation of a conference proposal and presentation. As a result of the spring 2020 cancellations, conferences this month will feature the work from the Center’s 2019 and 2020 intern cohorts and their mentors.

  • Alexandra Stone (UCONN) and Carla Evans will share their work from summer 2020, comparing the use of propensity score matching techniques with district-level and student-level covariates at AERA in a presentation entitled, What’s in a Level?: Investigating Propensity Score Methods for Effects on HLM Treatment Estimates.
  • Sandy Student (CU Boulder) and Brian Gong’s work will be featured in an AERA presentation, Supporting the Interpretive Validity of Student-Level Claims in Science Assessment With Tiered Claim Structures. Their work last summer included the development of a new framework for organizing and evaluating claims and recommendations for designing assessments to support claims
  • Brittney Hernandez (UCONN) will join Carla Evans and retired Center associate Charlie DePascale in a symposium, A Holistic Approach to Understanding and Enhancing Assessment Literacy, at the 2021 NEERO conference. The symposium features Brittney’s 2019 intern project with Scott Marion on creating a framework for assessment literacy for policymakers, as well as the work that Carla has been conducting over the past year on classroom assessment literacy

In other presentations, Center associates will share their thinking and work on the issues related to innovation in instruction and assessment and the effects of the pandemic on the interpretation and use of large-scale assessment results. 

  • The design and implementation of assessment programs to support innovative competency-based education (CBE) programs has been a major focus of the work of several Center associates, particularly those involved in New Hampshire’s innovative assessment program, PACE. Carla Evans, Erika Landl, and Jeri Thompson produced a synthesis of the research on K-12 CBE from 2000 to 2019 to examine factors that affect implementation, student outcomes, and the relationship between the two, which will be shared in the AERA session, Making Sense of K-12 Competency-Based Education: A Systematic Literature Review (2000 to 2019).
  • As addressed in two recent CenterLine posts by Brian Gong, questions regarding the use of interim and other through year assessments for summative accountability purposes is an important question and ongoing debate within the measurement community. Scott Marion will serve as discussant for the ATP session, Should Interim Assessments replace Summative Assessments for K-12 Accountability?
  • Finally, hardly a day has gone by this past year without someone on the Center team being asked to address issues related to the impact of the pandemic on the validity and fairness of the interpretation and use of assessment results for schools and individual students. Throughout the year we have compiled our thinking on these critical issues on a COVID-19 Resource page on the Center website. Scott Marion joins experts from the fields of licensing and certification testing, college admissions testing, and clinical testing to share his latest thoughts in the AERA symposium, Validity and Fairness in the Age of COVID-19: Perspectives from the Standards.

While we wish we could be greeting friends and colleagues in person this year, we are still excited to share our ideas and learn from respected professionals in the field.