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Dr. Ellen Forte Joins the Technical Advisory Group for the Standards and Testing Agency in the UK

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) of the Education Department for the United Kingdom has invited Dr. Ellen Forte, CEO and Chief Scientist at edCount, to join its Technical Advisory Group (TAG). The STA is responsible for overseeing the national assessments for UK students in the grades that correspond to kindergarten through grade 6 in the United States. As a member of the STA-TAG, Dr. Forte will support the STA in ensuring that its practices meet professional standards for high quality assessment systems as established in The Professional Standards for Educational and Psychological Measurement (AERA, APA, NCME, 2014).

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edCount and Partners Present on SCILLSS at the NCME Annual Meeting on April 4-8, 2019

edCount, ACS Ventures, the Nebraska Department of Education, and the Indiana Department of Education presented a NCME conference session to share information about a compilation of resources developed by the federally-funded Strengthening Claims-based Interpretations and Uses of Large-scale Science Assessment Scores (SCILLSS) project. The resources are designed to (a) provide state and local educators with a grounding in the principles for high quality assessments that are critical to the appropriate selection, development, and use of assessments in educational settings, and (b) offer a framework for making decisions about developing or adopting tests, as well as for evaluating tests currently in use.

The presentation focused on a discussion of two tools that are designed to assist educators in developing a deeper understanding of the components of a comprehensive assessment system, where information can be efficiently collected and evaluated to support inferences about student achievement and the appropriate use and interpretation of test scores–Ensuring Rigor in State Assessment Systems: A Self-Evaluation Protocol and Ensuring Rigor in Local Assessment Systems: A Self-Evaluation Protocol. Presenters also introduced and discussed the Digital Workbook on Educational Assessment Design and Evaluation, a companion resource developed by SCILLSS partners that includes a collection of five interactive chapters designed to provide state and local educators with a grounding in the principles of high-quality assessments. The workbook provides an in-depth exploration of the purposes and uses of educational assessments and the concept of validity. It also further elucidates the four key validity questions that guide the evaluation of assessment scores for their intended purposes and uses.

To provide user perspective regarding the process and outcomes of implementing the SCILLSS resources at a state level, the Nebraska Department of Education, lead state and grantee on the SCILLSS project, and the Indiana Department of Education shared how their agencies implemented the protocol and workbook to better understand the current status of their state assessment system and frame next steps to enhance the overall quality them, ensuring the validity and reliability of test scores for their intended uses. A highlight of the session was hearing a school principal from Nebraska share how her teachers benefited from implementing the local protocol to better understand the status of their local assessment system.

The NCME presentation slides, the local and state self-evaluation protocols, and the digital workbook can be found here and more information about the SCILLSS project is available here.

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edCount Presents at the ASES SCASS Meeting on Conducting Cognitive Labs with Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities

The Assessing Special Education Students (ASES) State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS ) of CCSSO invited edCount Executive Vice President, Liz Summers, Ph.D., to share the methodology, results, and lessons learned from conducting student interaction studies (e.g., modified cognitive laboratories) with students with the most significant cognitive disabilities taking alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards while working with the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC). The ASES SCASS supports states as they enhance their 21st century assessment, accountability, and curriculum and instruction systems to provide full equity for students with disabilities. The student population taking these assessments is unique in their learning characteristics and traditional cognitive laboratory methodologies are inappropriate to gather response process validity evidence. Dr. Summers’ presentation was followed by a group conversation with all participating states discussing application of the lessons learned in current state contexts and evaluation plans.

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Digital Workbook on Educational Assessment Design and Evaluation: Creating and Evaluating Effective Educational Assessments

edCount’s Strengthening Claims-based Interpretations and Uses of Local and Large-scale Science Assessment Scores (SCILLSS) project team developed a Digital Workbook on Educational Assessment Design and Evaluation: Creating and Evaluating Effective Educational Assessments. This digital workbook encompasses five assessment literacy modules, akin to chapters in a book, that together are intended to provide state and local assessment leaders and educators with a grounding in the principles of developing and evaluating high quality assessments. The first chapter provides an overview to the series and to the categories of validity questions that the subsequent four chapters target, which are construct coherence, comparability, fairness and accessibility, and consequences.

The chapters of the digital workbook are designed to be used on their own or as a resource for those completing the SCILLSS self-evaluation protocols at the local or state level. Each chapter is designed to be self-paced and approximately one-hour in duration. Dr. Ellen Forte, CEO and Chief Scientist at edCount, drafted the content with strong input from experts in each validity area and narrates each chapter. In addition to the core presentation for each chapter, supplemental information and resources such as research citations, articles, web links, and a glossary are provided for participants to access.

The Digital Workbook on Educational Assessment Design and Evaluation is comprised of an Adobe Connect digital workbook, PowerPoint presentation, script, and MP3 for each of the five chapters, and can be found here: http://www.scillsspartners.org/scillss-resources/. We encourage assessment leaders to access, share, and use these materials in states and local education agencies to enhance knowledge and understanding of assessment design and evaluation.

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edCount Partners with Measurement Incorporated on Assessment Development Project for the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP)

In 2018, edCount and our partner, Measurement Incorporated, won a five-year project to develop and support the administration of the Louisiana LEAP Connect Assessment System for students with significant cognitive disabilities in English language arts, mathematics, and science. This work includes the development of assessment frameworks and items, item content and bias reviews, field testing, test form development, data reviews, standards validation, and technical reporting. edCount will be providing content, accessibility, assessment design, and assessment evaluation expertise related to alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. edCount will ensure coherence among assessment system components and alignment to the assessment claims and measurement constructs. In the first year of the project, edCount has supported the development and analysis of the item bank, the development of assessment guides with sample test items and assessment frameworks, and the prioritization of the science content standards for assessment. edCount will also write items for the new fully operational science test in 2021, as well as provide guidance and support for scoring and reporting of writing performance task items.

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Congratulations to Catherine Gewertz on Winning the Inaugural NCME Award for Excellence in Public Communication

The National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) awarded Catherine Gewertz, Senior Contributing Writer for Education Week, its very first award for Excellence in Public Communication during the 2019 NCME Annual Meeting in Toronto in early April. This award honors Ms. Gewertz’s “journalistic contributions over two decades, which have effectively advanced the public’s knowledge and understanding of educational measurement.”

The NCME Board of Directors asked Dr. Ellen Forte, CEO and Chief Scientist at edCount, to establish and chair this committee, which is meant to recognize contributions that aim to communicate educational measurement concepts to an audience outside the field of educational measurement. Dr. Forte is dedicated to improving assessment literacy among education stakeholders and enhancing the quality and accessibility of measurement information for educators, parents, and students. NCME will ask for nominees for the 2020 prize in late 2019 and edCount will also post this call on its website to enhance dissemination.