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Quality assessments, groundbreaking research and measurement, and user-driven educational solutions

Learn more about ETS Research & Development.


English Language Arts Learning and Assessment Group

The English Language Arts (ELA) Learning and Assessment group at ETS has expertise in reading, writing, natural language processing, cognitive psychology and the learning sciences.


ELA team members contributed to research in the areas of:

  • digital literacy, argumentation and automated scoring
  • reading, writing and vocabulary development
  • background knowledge
  • foundational reading skills and text complexity
  • oral reading fluency
  • writing support systems

Current projects

Team members are working on projects designed to inform innovative solutions to improve students' literacy. These solutions involve:

  • exploring alternative multistage testing designs
  • leveraging the cognitive science literature to improve assessment design
  • using advances in natural language processing to improve efficiency while maintaining instructional relevance

Sample publications

Sparks, J.R., & van Rijn, P., Deane, P. (in press). Assessing source evaluation skills of middle school students using learning progressions. Educational Assessment.

Song, Y., Sparks, J. R., & Guzman-Orth, D. (2021). Investigating student performance on an assessment tool to support the development of English learners' argumentation skillsComputer Assisted Language Learning.