From the President
Rebecca Zwick, Educational Testing Service
Now that fall has arrived, plans for NCME’s annual meeting, April 4-8, 2019 in Toronto, are seriously underway! Nearly 700 proposals for papers, symposia, and training sessions are now being reviewed and the NCME hotel has been selected: The Fairmont Royal York. Demos of conference apps are being conducted in hopes of offering a more user-friendly app experience this time around.
Some support for conference attendance is available for grad students. The NCME Pipeline Scholarship will provide travel scholarships to graduate students from historically marginalized groups – specifically African American, Latino/a, and Native American. See the separate newsletter announcement or contact Jennifer Randall (email@example.com) for more information. Additional support for grad students may be available through the NCME Mission Fund. Contact Chad Buckendahl (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Program Chairs Emily Shaw, Krista Mattern, and I have arranged several invited sessions that are in keeping with the theme, “Communicating with the Public about Educational Measurement.” As I’ve noted before, my definition of “public” includes parents, educators, policymakers, journalists, and students–an especially important audience because they are often required to take tests without knowing much about the purpose of the assessment or the meaning of the scores. The invited session topics are wide-ranging, including innovative ways of displaying test results, communicating about testing with various constituencies, and communicating about international assessment results. In addition, there will be a session that ties in with the new Excellence in Public Communications Award and a session providing guidelines on communicating research results in the general press. The two remaining invited slots will be devoted to a session on women in measurement, and last but not least, a debate on the use of admissions tests for accountability purposes. We hope you’ll plan to attend as many of these as possible! We expect conference registration to open the week of November 26th.
Also in October, many NCME members will be attending the Second Annual Conference on Classroom Assessment in Lawrence, Kansas, October 8-10. Many thanks to Neal Kingston for again hosting the conference and to the Classroom Assessment Task Force, headed by Kristen Huff and Dale Whittington. The NCME Board will be meeting in Lawrence immediately preceding the conference.
Other initiatives: Some highlights
Endorsement of APA statement on college admissions: NCME recently endorsed the American Psychological Association statement opposing the federal government’s decision to eliminate guidelines that support the use of affirmative action in admissions. I would like to explain the process we used to determine whether to endorse the position. The initial proposal to endorse came from the Executive Committee. The 9-person NCME Board then voted unanimously to make the proposed endorsement statement available for member comment. We received 14 comments, some in favor, some opposed, and some recommending changes in the endorsement wording. We modified the wording in light of these comments and then held a Board vote about whether to proceed with the endorsement. A majority of Board members voted to proceed. Although it is unusual for NCME to take a stand on educational policy issues, the evaluation of college applications is clearly a measurement process. Therefore, while I recognize that some members disagree with the endorsement, I consider it to be consistent with NCME’s mission: to advance the science and practice of measurement in education.
Other position statements: NCME has released a new position statement on Theories of Action for Testing Programs. The statement points to the need for testing programs that intend to serve as change agents to “delineate how the program needs to operate so that the desired change is most likely to occur.” A draft position statement on Classroom Assessment.is available for member review.
Policy seminar, now scheduled for February 13, 2019: We will again be holding a policy seminar at George Washington University, Washington DC this winter. Stay tuned for details!
NCME Book Series: A new book in the series has just appeared: Score Reporting Research and Applications, edited by Diego Zapata-Rivera. Contact series editor Brian Clauser (BClauser@NBME.org) with your book ideas!
Journal of Educational Measurement: The Publications Committee is reviewing applications for the editorship of JEM. The new editor’s term will begin in 2019, so as to overlap with the terms of current editors George Engelhard and Jonathan Templin.
Membership: As part of our efforts to increase membership, we are offering one year of free membership to graduate students who join as new members. A great deal!
Don’t forget to renew your membership, encourage your colleagues to do so, and help us recruit new members!
I hope to hear from you about your questions, concerns, and ideas!
Rebecca Zwick, NCME President