ETS Research Chairs

ETS's reputation as the world's leading educational measurement organization rests on decades of pioneering and innovative research. The five ETS Research Chairs are named after pioneers in educational assessment and honor today's scientific leaders in the field of educational measurement.

"The Research Chairs — and the scholars who hold them — are among ETS's most precious resources. The Research Chairs offer ETS a platform for looking both deep and far," says Ida Lawrence, Senior Vice President of Research & Development at ETS. "The intellectual leadership that the chairs provide allow us to build on the rich history of research on educational assessment, measurement and policy, and lay the groundwork for the next generation of researchers and innovators in our field. They highlight the fact that ETS is a significant organization in terms of innovation and scientific status. You could say that the scientists holding the chairs are keeping us in touch with the future."


The Edmund W. Gordon Chair for Policy Evaluation and Research

Created in 2003, this chair honors a pioneer in educational assessment who The New York Times referred to as "the premier Black psychologist of his generation." Championing the values of equity and social justice in education that Dr. Gordon has long adopted, the Gordon Chair develops and conducts policy studies that advance equal, equitable and fair access to — and outcomes in — education. The Gordon Chair also identifies new or emerging directions for such work.


Michael T. Kane

The Samuel J. Messick Chair in Test Validity

Created in 2008, this chair honors a pioneer in the field of educational measurement and a leading authority in validity theory who worked at ETS for over three decades. Michael T. Kane was appointed to the Messick Chair in 2009. Previously, he was Research Director at the National Council of Bar Examiners. He also has served as Vice President of Research and Senior Research Scientist at American College Testing as well as Director of Test Development at the National League of Nursing.

Michael T. Kane headshot

Randy E. Bennett

The Norman O. Frederiksen Chair in Assessment Innovation

Created in 2010, this chair is named after a pioneer in constructed response, performance assessment and simulation. Randy E. Bennett assumed the Frederiksen Chair in 2010. He started at ETS in 1979 and specializes in research that applies advances in the learning sciences, technology and measurement to create new approaches to assessment that are better suited to a multicultural, pluralistic society.

Randy E. Bennett headshot

Irwin S. Kirsch

The Ralph W. Tyler Chair in Large-Scale Assessment

Created in 2012, this chair is named after an educational adviser to seven U.S. presidents. Tyler is also considered the father of the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP. Irwin S. Kirsch first joined ETS in 1984 and assumed the chair in 2012. He is a leading expert on large-scale assessments and works closely with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).

Irwin S. Kirsch headshot

Daniel McCaffrey

Frederic M. Lord Chair in Measurement & Statistics

Created in 2000, this chair is named after a pioneer in the fields of statistics and psychometrics. Daniel McCaffrey joined ETS in 2013 and was appointed to the Lord Chair in 2023. Previously, he held several leadership positions at RAND Corporation for over 20 years including the PNC Chair in Policy Analysis. He is a leading expert in statistical and psychometric research, teacher evaluations, causal modeling and complex data analysis for large-scale assessments.

Daniel McCaffrey