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Dr. Elizabeth Summers accepts position as Executive Vice President

Dr. Elizabeth Summers HeadshotIn 2009, Dr. Elizabeth Summers (formerly Towles-Reeves), joined edCount as a Research Associate. Since then, she has led and assisted numerous local, regional, and national studies of general and alternate assessment systems, and served as coordinator or manager of various projects to improve, design, or redesign assessment systems. Her work has played a pivotal role in the development and evaluation of alternate assessment systems around the country.  Dr. Summers is currently the Project Director for multiple projects, including SCILLSS, a federally-funded, multi-state initiative to establish foundational resources aligned to the NGSS for enhanced science assessment systems. She also directs edCount’s work on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program – Alternate Assessment, overseeing the assessment design, development, field testing, and the creation of content modules for educators. This new role is a recognition of Dr. Summers’ eight years of exceptional scholarly work at edCount – including development of project instruments, publication of peer-reviewed papers, and delivery of conference presentations -- and her leadership within the company – including project management, management of grants and contracts, and oversight of partnerships. In her new role, while continuing to manage multiple projects, Dr. Summers will assume a broader corporate leadership role, helping to shape edCount’s growth and development over the coming years. Congratulations, Liz! 

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Enhanced Assessment Grant (EAG) Award for Strenthening Claims-based Interpretations and Uses of Local and Large-scale Science Assessment Scores (SCILLSS) Project

edCount is collaborating with lead state, Nebraska, and two other states (Montana, and Wyoming) and three partner organizations (ACS Ventures, SRI International, and PIRE, Inc.) on the Strengthening Claims-based Interpretations and Uses of Local and Large–scale Science Assessment Scores (SCILLSS) project, one of two recently funded Enhanced Assessment Grants (EAG). This project will develop a comprehensive assessment approach that clarifies and strengthens the connection between statewide assessments, local assessments, and classroom instruction. Through the SCILLSS project, we are developing tools and resources that focus efforts on restructuring and re-engineering both large-scale and local science assessments to ensure standards alignment, support system coherence, and to yield scores with more meaningful information. This project will have cross-state applicability and generalizability beyond the states engaged in the project. Key facets, including tools and resources, of the state-specific work completed through this project will be adaptable to other states’ contexts and sustainable beyond the life of the project. These tools and resources will be available on the SCILLSS website going live in late Fall, 2017.

Logo for SCILLSS: Strengthening Claims Based Interpretations and Uses of Local and Large-Scale Science Assessment Scores

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edCount Conducting Workshop on Applications of an Alignment Evaluation Framework at the Annual Northeastern Educational Research Association (NERA) Conference on October 18-20, 2017

Based on Dr. Ellen Forte’s publications on the topic of alignment evaluation (e.g., 2013, 2017), this workshop will provide participants with solid grounding in alignment evaluation methods for standards-based assessments within the contexts of principled-design assessment development, the United States Department of Education’s federal peer review requirements, and the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, & NCME, 2014). Participants will break into groups for an activity in which they consider an alignment plan and conduct ratings of standards, claims, Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs), task models, blueprints, and items. The workshop will conclude with a discussion of communication strategies in terms of reports and questions from stakeholders, including the media, parents, and technical advisory committees. To learn more about this conference, click here

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edCount Presented Information on SCILLSS Project at the National Council for Measurement in Education (NCME) Special Conference on September 14, 2017

edCount led a panel discussion on the topic of strengthening claims-based interpretations and uses of local and large-scale science assessment scores at the 2017 NCME Special Conference on Classroom Assessment and Large-Scale Psychometrics. In this panel discussion, SEA and LEA representatives from Nebraska joined a representative from each of the three partner organizations to share insights on how the SCILLSS project activities will engage state and local educators, along with large-scale assessment developers, in creating a shared understanding of science as it is taught and tested. This discussion included descriptions of how principled-design elements for assessment can and should derive from the same conceptual representation of science used to support instructional design and local assessments. Participants learned about the initial stages of the federally-funded SCILLSS project and were encouraged to consider how they can leverage similar approaches in connecting instruction and assessment to support far richer standards-based alignment than is possible with most current large-scale assessment designs. 

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edCount Successfully Supports Georgia in Alignment Evaluation and Peer Review

edCount recently completed a comprehensive alignment evaluation of the Georgia Milestones Assessment System in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies for the Georgia Department of Education (GA DOE). The GA DOE submitted our report on this evaluation as part of its federal peer review package and successfully met all criteria related to alignment. This evaluation supported content-related validity through a comprehensive examination of the relationships between the academic content standards, the specifications of the content domain, test items, and achievement level descriptors (ALDs). A portion of this alignment evaluation involved bringing together a panel of experts with content expertise and expertise in serving students with disabilities and students who are English learners to evaluate the standards, items, and ALDs along with the relationships between each. The methodology was based on Dr. Ellen Forte’s publications on the topic of alignment evaluation (2013, 2017) and was presented at the 2017 National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) Conference in San Antonio, Texas. To read more about this methodology, click here

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edCount Completes Multi-Year Project with the Regional Education Laboratory Mid-Atlantic (REL-MA)

edCount recently completed a multi-year project (2012-2016) in collaboration with the REL Mid-Atlantic to host the Educator Effectiveness Webinar Series and the Ask an Expert Webinar Series. The REL-MA is one of 10 Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) across the United States that are supported by the U.S. Department of Education and work in partnership with states, school districts, and other relevant stakeholders to support the use of evidence in improving academic outcomes for students. The REL-MA serves Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. The Educator Effectiveness Webinar Series was designed to provide participants the opportunity to acquire knowledge about various aspects of educator effectiveness in a way that would allow them to apply this knowledge to support instruction, leadership, and improved student outcomes. edCount collaborated with respected and well-known experts to prepare and conduct 40 interactive and engaging webinars that reached a diverse audience of educators (state, local, and university), researchers, policymakers, parents, and community members. The recorded REL-MA webinars can be found on the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) YouTube channel. A sample of the more popular webinars on the IES channel can be viewed here, here, and here.

edCount also assisted in responding to questions that came in from educators through the Ask A REL collaborative reference desk service which provides references, referrals, and brief responses in the form of citations on research-based education questions. edCount prepared responses to questions regarding a variety of topics including English Learners, student engagement strategies, teacher mentoring, and guided reading strategies. edCount also led REL-MA’s efforts to address data management needs of state education agencies (SEAs), local education agencies (LEAs), and research organizations in the region. Included in this work was the facilitation of roundtable workshops for SEA representatives to share their needs, concerns, and experiences to streamline data requests and facilitate better access to high quality data that supports research efforts.