Innovation in Assessment is Theme for Innovations Spring Issue
- Tom Ewing
- Tom Ewing
Princeton, N.J. (April 16, 2009) —
Nothing in the world of educational assessment is more important than applying creativity and intellectual rigor to make assessments that are fair for all learners, that help identify effective teaching practices, and that better inform instruction. These are the hallmarks of Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) Research & Development (R&D) Division and the topic of the spring issue of ETS's magazine, Innovations.
The lead story, "Balancing Teaching, Learning and Testing," looks at ETS's Cognitively Based Assessment (CBAL™) research initiative, which aims to create a computer-based system of balanced assessment that provides information useful for both accountability and classroom instruction. The CBAL system will serve policy needs, inform lesson planning, support professional development, and engage students in tasks that are themselves worthwhile learning experiences.
"Instead of a single end-of-year test, developers in all the CBAL skill areas are creating shorter assessments spread throughout the year that, in the end, gather more learning data from more assessment events than a single exam could," explains Maureen Tevanian, a seventh- and eighth-grade language arts teacher in Portland, Maine. "This approach makes testing more informative and less invasive than traditional summative assessment."
The article outlines how the CBAL intends to improve the validity and reliability of K–12 assessment by giving students more time and opportunities to show what they know and can do. The experiences of ETS's Research staff in developing formative tasks for reading assessment also are detailed.
In addition, the spring issue features an interview with Ida Lawrence, ETS's Senior Vice President for R&D, in which she explains what characterizes innovation in her division and how it relates to global assessment efforts. Lawrence discusses the three strands of research her group explores, describes projects that are underway to address assessment in the global arena, and explores the implications of ETS's research on adult literacy.
ETS's new Personal Potential Index (ETS® PPI), which will be launched in July of this year, also is featured. The ETS PPI is a web-based evaluation tool that provides a more complete picture of an applicant’s potential for success in graduate school. It includes reliable information on six critical dimensions that graduate faculty and deans have told ETS researchers they regard as key to success: knowledge and creativity, communication skills, teamwork, resilience, planning and organization, and ethics and integrity.
Conceptually, the ETS PPI grows out of the longstanding interest of ETS and the GRE® Board in students' personal attributes, sometimes called noncognitive skills. Psychometrically, it is an outgrowth of ETS scientists' groundbreaking work in measuring these skills and their role in academic performance.
An article titled "Teacher Assessment in Chile" reviews the Certification Program for the Excellence in Pedagogy Award (AEP), an initiative of the Chilean Ministry of Education aimed at strengthening the quality of education through recognition of the professional accomplishments of teachers in the classroom.
The final article, "Putting College Professors to the Test at ETS," looks at ETS's Visiting Scholars Program. Each year, since 2000, ETS has invited minority faculty and administrators from public and private community colleges and universities to its global headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, for a four-week immersion experience of standardized testing.
Finally, a selection of the latest publications from experts in ETS's R&D Division and Policy Information Center is provided. Topics include testing in America, high school graduation rates, school finance and the achievement gap, access to success, and new guidelines for assessment of English-language learners.
Copies of the spring issue of Innovations can be downloaded for free at www.ets.org.
At nonprofit ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® test and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.