U.S. Dept. of Education Awards ETS Contracts for the Nation's Report Card
Work to include coordinating test design, development, analysis and reporting
- Tom Ewing
- Tom Ewing
Princeton, N.J. (March 14, 2013) —
The National Center on Education Statistics (NCES), has awarded three contracts to Educational Testing Service (ETS) to design, administer and report results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The award continues ETS's 30-year involvement with "The Nation's Report Card." In addition, ETS will coordinate an alliance of organizations responsible for operational components of the program.
The five-year contract will require the alliance to design innovative test content that takes advantage of new technologies and advances in cognitive sciences and the science of measurement. As specified by the government's Request for Proposal, ETS bid with a team of four other contractors as the "NAEP Alliance."
"NAEP is the most visible and closely watched K–12 assessment program in the country," says ETS President Kurt Landgraf. "It provides valuable information to parents, policymakers, educators and the media, and we are honored with the opportunity to continue to serve the nation."
The NAEP assessments provide regular snapshots of what fourth-, eighth- and 12th-grade students know and can do in major curricula like reading, writing, mathematics and science, and track their academic progress over time.
"This contract renewal is due in large part to the excellent work we've done on the NAEP contract in the past," says Stephen Lazer, ETS Vice President for Student and Teacher Assessment. "But the victory is also a testimonial to the fact that the U.S. Department of Education (USED) is confident in our ability to help them introduce substantial innovations in the next few years. This has been the hallmark of ETS's work on NAEP over the past 30 years: We have never rested on our laurels, but continue to work with our clients to drive the program forward."
The next five years will be one of the most transformational periods for the program since ETS won its first NAEP contract in 1983, according to Jay Campbell, Executive Director of the NAEP program. "We will need to quickly, efficiently and effectively move most of NAEP assessments to computer and/or device delivery. But this transformation is not just about moving from paper to computer. The Department of Education expects, and we are ready to deliver, new and innovative assessment content that leverages technology to enhance what can be measured and reported about students' educational progress."
ETS is well-positioned to make this happen, he explains.
"In the last few years, we have been transforming ourselves to prepare for this opportunity . . . introducing new systems, processes, and people that allow us to leverage advances in cognitive science, computer technologies, and the science of measurement to bring the next generation of assessments to NAEP and the education community. It will probably be one of the most exciting times to be working on the NAEP program at ETS since we were first entrusted with the stewardship of what has long been known as ‘the nation's gold standard' of educational assessment.
The contract, which begins now and runs through March 2018, is actually an award for three separate parts of the program:
- The Design, Analysis and Reporting (DAR) contract includes designing each of the subject-area assessments administered by NAEP. ETS will work closely with the USED and other contractors to establish reporting goals for each assessment, which drive the design decisions. The design plans developed through the DAR contract will inform all aspects of each assessment, from student sampling, to administration plans, scoring, analysis and reporting. ETS psychometricians and data analysts will be responsible for the highly sophisticated analytic procedures that are the basis for producing reliable and valid assessment results. This contract also includes publishing the "Nation's Report Card" in print and on the web, as well as a suite of interactive, web-based tools.
- The Item Development contract involves developing content for the subject-area assessments, including the survey questionnaires that are used to collect important background and contextual data. Many staff across ETS's Assessment Development and Research & Development divisions will be involved in this effort. ETS content experts and test specialists will work closely with cognitive scientists in the organization's newly formed Cognitive & Learning Sciences group to develop rich and meaningful content for the NAEP assessments — most of which will be delivered via computer by 2018.
- The Planning and Coordination contract includes strategic planning and coordination of all activities across the NAEP alliance. This requires careful and highly detailed planning, and above all, extensive understanding of the many complexities of this multi-faceted, multi-organizational program.
At 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 as a nonprofit 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.