Teacher Effectiveness, Computer-Delivered Assessments and Innovation Focus of ETS Praxis™ Client Conference
- Jason Baran
- Jason Baran
Princeton, N.J. (May 31, 2011) —
With teacher effectiveness initiatives in full swing around the country, more than 50 education leaders from 34 states and territories attended Educational Testing Service's (ETS) 2011 Praxis™ Client Conference this month to discuss the implications for Praxis program and teacher preparation program improvements, and for better classroom instruction.
In her keynote address, Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Lillian Lowery discussed the implications of the Race to the Top competition for teacher licensure and evaluation; Delaware's experience grappling with these issues; and why richer, systematic ways to measure effectiveness are more critical now than ever.
"The Race to the Top competition has brought people to the table who have characteristically been on the sidelines watching education," Dr. Lowery said. "In Delaware and at the national level these educators are now helping us think visionary thoughts around improving instruction and student learning."
This year's Praxis Client Conference theme was, "Expect More" to highlight the ongoing enhancements that ETS is making to The Praxis Series™ tests. ETS, who regularly updates the Praxis assessments, is currently working with University of Michigan research scientists to develop assessments that are focused on the knowledge teachers need to effectively engage in critical tasks of teaching, called Content Knowledge for Teaching (CKT). CKT applications, which test content understanding, will further enhance the measurement of Praxis II® Subject Assessments.
ETS Executive Vice President and COO Walt MacDonald said that clients should expect these new innovations and more from ETS.
ETS Vice President of Student and Teacher Programs Steve Lazer added, "We really are at the tipping point. Technologies are changing the ways teaching and learning happens. Computerization is here; we're already seeing faster score reporting and more dynamic assessments."
Lazer further explained that this innovation needs to come in two complementary directions. "We need to expand what is measured in initial licensure tests and we need to expand assessment thinking to other parts of the teaching continuum."
During the conference's other keynote address, Dr. Stephen Sireci, University of Massachusetts, addressed technology issues and examined the innovations, challenges and future of computer-based testing for teacher licensure and certification. Dr. Sireci distinguished between superficially innovative items and true innovative items that leverage the computer to probe the knowledge and skill that make for effective teaching.
"Teaching is not just a profession, but a passion," MacDonald said. "One good teacher can change a life forever and a hundred good teachers can change thousands of lives."
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® tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries at over 9,000 locations worldwide. www.ets.org