Leanne Ketterlin Geller, Southern Methodist University
As part of the 2019 NCME Annual Conference, the Diversity Issues and Testing (DIT) Committee hosted an invited panel on equity-centered design in assessment that was moderated by Dr. Joseph Rios and featured distinguished panelists Drs. Antonia Darder, Ezekiel Dixon-Roman, Jamila Lyiscott, and Maria Elena Oliveri. The interactive session challenged panelists and audience members to consider how policy makers, test developers, and researchers can create assessment systems in which the sociocultural identities of students are intentionally integrated and valued throughout the test development process.
Joseph Rios, Jamila Lyiscott, Antonia Darder, Maria Elena Oliveri, and Ezekiel Dixon-Roman
Setting the stage for the panel, the DIT chair Dr. Jennifer Randall encouraged participants to interrogate existing assessment practices and beliefs – whether consciously held or not – that ignore the experience of students of color within the testing process, and reconceptualize a testing system that is fair and equitable for all students. Audience members actively engaged in facilitated small-group discussions designed to prompt people to think about inequitable or unfair assessment practices, ways in which assessments have privileged some people or cultures and disadvantaged others, past and present test development practices that undervalue diversity, and cast a vision for an equitable system. Panelists closed the session with prepared remarks that were intended to both incite and inspire change. Panelists called for cultural pluralism and a recognition of the value and importance of capturing different ways of knowing in our assessment systems. Panelists invited audience members to critically reflect on the historical role of assessment in the US and to challenge remnants of the oppressive systems in which test results are still used to marginalize communities. The panelists’ remarks were thought provoking and shaped the hopeful tenor of the session. By initiating a dialogue about these issues, we begin the change process.
We invite all NCME members to change the conversation around equity-centered assessment and engage with us in discussion. We will facilitate a dialogue on Twitter using #NCMEDiT and are exploring other opportunities for expanding the conversation.