Educators Gather to Better Understand Validity and Use of Assessment Data Worldwide


New York, NY (March 14, 2012) —

Around the world, educational assessments are being tasked with everything from measuring student achievement to evaluating teachers, schools and institutions. A conference to explore the validity of such practices and the appropriate uses of such data will be held at the Cowin Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, March 28–29, 2012.

The two-day event, Educational Assessment, Accountability, and Equity: Conversations on Validity Around the World, is sponsored by Teachers College and Educational Testing Service (ETS). The conference is geared toward educators, funders, policymakers, managers and technical staff of assessment programs, and users of assessment information.

This year's conference seeks to promote conversations on validity among technical and non-technical audiences who could impact appropriate use of educational assessments in applied educational settings. The conference presentations will cover educational assessment systems designed to measure student achievement and to evaluate teachers, schools and institutions, examining where and how validity breaks down and how it can be improved in practice and policy contexts.

The conference will feature a variety of sessions, each two hours in length. A keynote speaker will present for 30 minutes on the topic, followed by four panelists who will have 10 minutes to address the remarks of the keynote speaker and present their own perspectives. The rest of the session will be dedicated to questions and discussion with members of the audience.

The conference will open with greetings from John Allegrante and Susan Fuhrman of Teachers College, Columbia University, and Ida Lawrence of ETS. The following sessions and speakers will be on the conference agenda:

Validity, Fairness and Testing
Keynote: Michael Kane (Educational Testing Service)
Panelist 1: Edmund W. Gordon (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Panelist 2: Sébastien Georges (Centre international d'études pédagogiques, France)
Panelist 3: Kadriye Ercikan (University of British Columbia)
Panelist 4: Alina Von Davier (Educational Testing Service)
Moderator: Madhabi Chatterji (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Models of Teacher Evaluation and School Accountability Around the World
Keynote: Adrie Visscher (University of Twente, Netherlands)
Panelist 1: Aaron Pallas (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Panelist 2: Drew Gitomer (Rutgers University)
Panelist 3: Jakob Wandall (Independent Consultant, Denmark)
Panelist 4: Haniza Yon (MIMOS, Malaysia)
Moderator: Hank Levin (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Validity Issues in International Large-Scale Assessments
Keynote: Michael Feuer (George Washington University)
Panelist 1: Hans Wagemaker (IEA)
Panelist 2: Eduardo Backhoff (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexico)
Panelist 3: Robert Laurie (New Brunswick Ministry of Education, Canada)
Panelist 4: Val W. Plisko (retired – The National Center for Education Statistics)
Moderator: Eugenio Gonzalez (Educational Testing Service)

Bringing the Validity Conversations Home: When Education Measures Go Public
Keynote: Eva Baker (University of California, Los Angeles)
Panelist 1: Nick Lemann (Columbia University, School of Journalism)
Panelist 2: David Steiner (CUNY and previous NYS Education Commissioner)
Panelist 3: Kevin Welner (University of Colorado at Boulder)
Panelist 4: Leo Casey (United Federation of Teachers, NYC)
Moderator: Jeffrey Henig (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Closing remarks will be given by Thomas James, Provost and Dean of Teachers College.

For more information about the conference, please visit