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Retooling Literacy Education for the Twenty-First Century: Key Findings of the Reading for Understanding Initiative and Their Implications


John Sabatini is a Principal Research Scientist in Global Assessment and the Center for Research on Human Capital and Education at Educational Testing Service. His research interests include reading literacy development, disabilities, assessment, cognitive psychology, and educational technology, with a primary focus on adults and adolescents. He has been the principal investigator of Institute of Education Sciences-funded grants to develop preK-12 comprehension assessments, as part of the Reading for Understanding initiative, and to adapt those assessments for use in adult education programs, as well as co-PI on a project that uses automated item generation technology so that instructors can build language activities from their own content texts for English language learners. He is co-author and designer of the PIAAC reading components measures, and has served on the PIAAC and PISA expert literacy groups. He is co-editor of two volumes on innovations in reading comprehension assessment.

Tenaha O'Reilly is a senior research scientist at ETS. His research interests are in the area of cognitive science, reading, and education. He co-managed federal grants on developing the next generation of reading assessments for students in grades K-12, as well as grants on delivering new assessments for adult literacy. He currently manages a grant focused on the role of background knowledge and knowledge monitoring on students' ability to comprehend academic and non-academic texts.

Nancy A. Doorey is an independent consultant who has worked in the areas of assessment, research, teacher quality, and governance. She managed the 2018 content analysis of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP®) reading and writing assessments and was lead author of the 2016 Fordham Institute review of the PARCC®, Smarter Balanced®, ACT® Aspire, and Massachusetts assessments. For ETS, she managed the Invitational Symposium on Reading for Understanding and from 2009 to 2015 co-led the Center for K-12 Assessment & Performance Management, an entity formed to serve as a catalyst for advances in K-12 testing to support student learning. Her current volunteer work includes serving as a Commissioner on the WASC Senior College and University Commission.