Elizabeth Summers, Ph.D.

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Liz S. 2018

Elizabeth Summers, Ph.D. is the Executive Vice President at edCount, LLC. Dr. Summers has extensive experience in assessment validity and alignment evaluation. She has led and assisted numerous local, regional, and national studies of both general and alternate assessment systems, served as coordinator and manager of various projects to improve, design, or redesign assessment systems, and has played a pivotal role in the development and evaluation of alternate assessment systems around the country.

Dr. Summers currently serves as the Project Director for a three-year, multi-state, US Department of Education funded Enhanced Assessment Grant, the Strengthening Claims-based Interpretations and Uses of Local and Large-scale Science Assessment Scores (SCILLSS). Under Dr. Summers’ direction, four organizational partners and edCount are working together with three state departments of education and a panel of experts to establish foundational resources for new science assessment systems. Using a principled-design approach, they are creating materials from which enhanced science assessments can be built, evaluated, and shared across states, local education agencies, schools, and classrooms.

In addition, Dr. Summers is the director of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program – Alternate Assessment project in science and social studies. She oversees the development and documentation activities, including content standard prioritization for assessment, item development, item review for content, bias, and sensitivity, test design for the field test and alternate assessment in Spring of 2017 and 2020, and technical documentation for the alternate assessment in both content areas. Under her direction, edCount has also developed 24 content modules providing curricular information designed to help educators deliver appropriate and challenging content to students with cognitive disabilities.

In 2017, Dr. Summers directed the South Dakota project for the development of Science Core Content Connectors (CCCs). In this role, Dr. Summers lead edCount’s collaboration with South Dakota instructional leaders to develop science CCCs utilizing evidence-based practices, research, and theory regarding how students with the most significant cognitive disabilities acquire academic skills and knowledge. The CCCs clarify concepts in the South Dakota Science Standards by deconstructing the structure of individual performance expectations (i.e., standards) into teachable and assessable content segments.

From 2010 to 2015, Dr. Summers served as the Process Evaluator for the National Center and State Collaborative General Supervision Enhancement Grant (NCSC-GSEG), a consortium of 19 states which collaborated to design an alternate assessment system aligned with the Common Core State Standards. In this role, she analyzed project implementation and operation, provided coordination of project management activities, and oversaw the external project evaluation. Dr. Summers also served as Project Director for the Evaluating the Validity of English Language Proficiency Assessments (EVEA) project, coordinating project management, leadership for development of project instruments, management of grants and contracts, and oversight of partnerships.

Dr. Summers has served as Project Director in edCount’s contracts to evaluate the validity of alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Mississippi, and in edCount’s whole-system alignment evaluation of the Georgia Milestones Assessment. Dr. Summers has overseen numerous alignment evaluations for general and alternate assessments including those for Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Washington DC, and the US Virgin Islands. Within the alignment evaluations for alternate assessments, Dr. Summers provided the overall training for all content and severe disabilities experts as well as she facilitated and monitored evidence collection. She is currently serving as Project Director for the development of alternate assessments in Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia.

Over the past decade Dr. Summers’ research products have reflected her commitment to understanding the cognition of special needs students and designing and improving testing and instruction to maximize the achievement potential of this population. She has authored or co-authored more than a dozen research reports, the majority of which have appeared in peer-reviewed academic journals. She has designed several research instruments that are in wide use, including an index of learner characteristics; authored several book chapters, and, since 2003, has presented regularly at national and regional conferences. In 2007, she was awarded TASH’s Alice H. Hayden Emerging Researcher Award for her commitment to improving understanding and service to the population of students with disabilities.

Bill Herrera, M.S.

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Bill H. 2018

Bill Herrera, M.S., is a Senior Associate and Assessment Specialist with edCount, LLC. Mr. Herrera has over 20 years of experience in education as a state assessment director, researcher, and teacher. Currently, Mr. Herrera is leading a project team in science item development for Louisiana’s statewide alternate assessment, LEAP Connect. Mr. Herrera plays a key role in assessment and curriculum development projects within edCount, serving as a Senior Advisor and Assessment Specialist for state-wide programs in three states. In Tennessee, he is leading the development of a science curriculum and assessment framework for students with significant cognitive disabilities. In Mississippi, he is leading the development of an innovative alternate assessment program in mathematics and science. In New York, he has acted as senior advisor and content developer in mathematics for the state-wide mathematics general assessment. Mr. Herrera has led the development of assessment targets (Core Content Connectors) for all 220 NGSS K-12 Performance Expectations for California, in which each Core Content Connector was broken down into three tiers for accessibility purposes. He also worked with state leads to suggest NGSS to be used as the basis for California’s NGSS alternate assessment program.

Mr. Herrera has recently served as a panel facilitator for alignment evaluations in Florida, Georgia, and New York, and is deeply familiar with the alignment study process, particularly as it relates to science content. Mr. Herrera also recently served as a panel facilitator for a linking evaluation of Delaware’s GBEs and the DLM EEs. Previously, he played a role as a senior advisor and assessment lead for the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) GSEG grant. Activities in which Mr. Herrera played a key role within NCSC include assessment policy, capacity building, test development and analysis, and the development of curriculum, instructional materials, and the core content connectors. In these roles, he took a strategic and systemic approach to state stakeholder engagement in order facilitate effective collaboration and build capacity. During his tenure with edCount, Mr. Herrera has also served as Project Director for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Item Development Project, managing the development of program evaluation tests in 32 subjects, and as senior advisor for the development of K-12 science and mathematics curriculum and alternate assessment training modules for the Puerto Rico Department of Education. He has also served as a senior mathematics curriculum advisor for Common Core-aligned K-12 curriculum for the Clerc Center at Gallaudet University.

Prior to joining edCount, Mr. Herrera served as Director of Assessment and Director of Test Development and Research for the Wyoming Department of Education. In this role, Mr. Herrera managed the Wyoming state assessment system, which involved management, coordinating staff and vendors to fulfill state assessment requirements, and providing statewide training for district and higher education personnel on state laws and procedures pertaining to assessment. Throughout his career, Mr. Herrera has contributed his knowledge and expertise to several federally funded studies, including those specifically related to students with disabilities. These studies include early work on the development of modified assessments in science and mathematics and the applicability of an innovative alignment protocol, the Links for Academic Learning (LAL), which examine the degree of alignment of alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) to grade-level content standards and instruction. In the course of this research, Mr. Herrera worked with state assessment specialists, universities and middle- and high-school teachers from a number of states.

Charlene Turner, B.S.

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Charlene T. 2018

Charlene Turner, B.S. is a Senior Associate and Assessment Specialist with edCount, LLC. Ms. Turner brings with her over 30 years of experience in education as a state alternate assessment director, special education teacher, and researcher. During her tenure at edCount, Ms. Turner has used her expertise to facilitate a variety of projects, including assessment development, evaluation, and professional development. Ms. Turner currently serves as a Senior Project Advisor and Assessment Specialist in multiple states. Currently for Louisiana, Ms. Turner is leading a project team in English language arts (ELA) item development for LEAP Connect, Louisiana’s statewide alternate assessment. In Mississippi, she is leading the facilitation of stakeholder meetings and collaborating with the Department of Education to develop and implement an innovative alternate assessment system in ELA, mathematics, and science. In Tennessee, she is leading the development of a coherent assessment framework and instructional resources in multiple grades and content areas for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Ms. Turner recently served as a panel facilitator for alignment evaluations of Georgia’s statewide general assessment and Florida’s FSAA—Datafolio alternate assessment.

In California, Ms. Turner led the development of the California Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Core Content Connectors for use with the California NGSS Alternate Assessment Program. Ms. Turner also served as a panel facilitator for a linking evaluation of Delaware’s GBEs and the DLM EEs. Formerly, Ms. Turner served as a senior curriculum and alternate assessment specialist for the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) General Supervision Enhancement Grant. Within her NCSC role, Ms. Turner supported the implementation and coordination of validity evaluation studies, including technical documentation of project activities related to assessment, instructional resource development, and professional development. Ms. Turner served as a facilitator, panelist, and developer of materials and technical documentation of alignment studies for general and alternate assessments for the Clerc Center/Gallaudet University. Ms. Turner also advised the Puerto Rico Department of Education during the development of assessment training for administrators of the alternate assessment and protocols for implementation of accommodations studies.

Prior to joining edCount, Ms. Turner served as an educator and Literacy Education Consultant in elementary, middle, and high schools to support effective instruction of special education students in self-contained, resource, and inclusive settings. She served as the Director of Alternate Assessment for the Wyoming Department of Education and was responsible for the development, implementation, and improvement of the Wyoming Alternate Assessment System including standards, instruction, and assessment. In addition, Ms. Turner has participated in multiple Enhanced Assessment Grants, co-authored papers and briefs, and presented at state and national conferences.