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Michael Walker

Michael Walker is a distinguished presidential appointee and the director of the Center for Equity in the Research & Development division at ETS. He joined ETS in June 2000 in the Center for Statistical Analysis, where he worked as the statistical coordinator for the SAT Subject Tests™ program. Prior to that, he taught in the Quantitative Psychology division at Ohio State University. Once at ETS, he helped to launch the 2005 redesign of the SAT® assessments, particularly the Writing assessment. He eventually oversaw the psychometric work for all College Board programs administered by ETS, including SAT, PSAT/NMSQT®, CLEP®, and Advanced Placement® assessments.

In November 2013, he moved to the College Board, where he was involved in research related to the 2016 redesign of the SAT, particularly the essay. A large part of his work at the College Board focused on differential performance of subgroups (sex, race/ethnicity, English learner status, disability status) on large-scale assessments. This research was a continuation of an interest in fairness that he cultivated many years ago and a subject about which he is very passionate. He was ecstatic to bring that passion back to ETS in December 2019 to head the Fairness and Equity Research Methodologies Institute (FERMI), which became the Center for Equity.

Walker holds a Ph.D. in quantitative psychology and an M.S. in statistics, both earned at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. He also has an M.A. and a B.A. in psychology, both earned at Wake Forest University. With more than three decades of involvement in the field of testing, he has written and presented on all aspects of designing and maintaining testing programs. His research has focused on issues in standardized testing: equating, concordance, subgroup differences, and essay reliability. Published work includes fair test design and use, maintaining and transitioning testing programs; test scaling and equating; test reliability; and use of constructed-response items.

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