From the President (Summer 2020)

By Megan Welsh posted 07-31-2020 10:46


Y_Tong.jpgYe Tong, Pearson

I have been an NCME member since 2000, when I started graduate school at Iowa. NCME been an intellectual home to me through the years, and I am so overwhelmingly excited and honored to get to serve NCME as its President for 2020 – 2021. Of course, when I said I would run for NCME President back in 2018, I had no idea what I was getting into!

The past few months have been extremely unsettling. In the United States, COVID-19 has infected more than 2.5 million people and claimed more than 125,000 lives. In addition, an outcry for social justice and equality has swept our nation. People are frustrated, exhausted, and hurting. I shared a Presidential Statement on Our Commitment to Equality and Justice in early June. You can read it here

In the midst of all the changes and uncertainty in our society, we are also seeing COVID-19’s impact in the measurement field. In the past three months, we have witnessed so many changes. All states have cancelled their K–12 summative assessments for spring 2020. Many assessments have moved from in-person proctoring to online proctoring. In a decision not entirely related to the pandemic, the University of California has decided to no longer use ACT and SAT for admission considerations. Our industry is moving fast and furious in many directions.

It is important, more than ever, that NCME members continue to get together to share our ideas and solutions and provide guidance on how we measure and what we measure. As I have communicated to the membership, we are postponing the release of the Call for Proposal due to a variety of factors. But we will still be honoring the same time period for our members to work on their proposals with extended due date as well.

The theme for the 2021 NCME conference is Bridging Research and Practice. To support the theme, besides the topics our membership historically is interested in, we will also encourage submissions in the following categories:

  • Innovative research that gets implemented in practice and helps promote informed decisions
  • Practices that emphasize research-based best practices
  • COVID-19 and its short-term and long-term impact in measurement research and practices

Susan Davis Becker and Leslie Keng (Program Chairs), Sarah Quesen (Training Chair), and I will be working diligently to put together a well-thought-out conference program for 2021. We are committed to holding a full-fledged conference next year. We hope we can meet in person, but if the COVID-19 situation continues into 2021, we will meet virtually. If we get to meet in person, we will still allow both in-person and virtual attendance to allow the widest audience and participation to join us for the 2021 conference.

Additionally, as I communicated at our April business meeting, I have also identified the following three priorities for my presidency:

  • Enhance the reach of NCME
  • Strengthen the tie between research and practice
  • Let technology help advance measurement

As were the NCME Presidents immediately preceding me—Steve Sireci, Rebecca Zwick, and Randy Bennett—I am committed to the continued growth in NCME’s membership and influence. It is of vital importance to continue to make NCME an intellectual home for people who specialize in psychometrics. It is also of vital importance to make NCME an intellectual home for people who work in the assessment field in general. I will follow in the steps of my predecessors and make NCME relevant to psychometricians, researchers, policymakers, assessment administrators, and stakeholders.

Being a practitioner myself, I firmly believe we need to foster a stronger tie between research and practice. Research is the foundation to move our field forward; practice is where we can reach tens of thousands of people and where critical decisions are made. Practitioners need to follow research-based practices, and researchers need to conduct studies that can be relevant and helpful for practice. I am committed to pushing for a stronger tie between the two.

Technology is changing our daily lives; it is also changing how and what we measure. We can collect much more data than ever before and use those data to help with measurement and decision-making. The measurement community needs to capitalize on what technology can offer and use it to help advance our field.

A Few NCME Highlights

2020 Summer/Fall Virtual Sessions: Since we were not able to get together for our conference in San Francisco in April, NCME has moved the sessions online. We are rolling out training sessions and coordinated sessions in the months from June through September. Participation is free to our membership. I hope you all are able to take advantage of this opportunity and connect with your NCME colleagues.

Educational Measurement, 5th Edition: In April, the NCME Board met and unanimously agreed that we will make the 5th Edition of Educational Measurement, the “Bible” in our field, open-access digitally to all. Paper copies will still be available for purchase. Our editors, Linda Cook and Mary Pitoniak, are hard at work and are on track for publication by June 2022.

Free Graduate Student Membership: Due to COVID-19 and its impact on the economy, we have decided that we will offer graduate students one year of free membership, regardless of whether they are new or existing NCME members. They will have to have a professor (who is a current NCME member) to sponsor them. For students who have renewed, they can apply the new membership to 2021. For details, please check in with our management company.

Online Repository of Formative Assessment Resources for Teachers: The classroom assessment task force is working to create a repository of formative assessment techniques that have been tested in classrooms and online and have been shown to support effective teaching, as well as deepen student learning. The repository will be housed on the NCME website and will serve as a resource to educators as they go back to teaching in the fall.

Classroom Assessment Conference: The classroom assessment task force (CATF) is looking to hold another classroom assessment conference event for 2021. Stay tuned!

SIGMIE Webinars: Our two SIGMIEs—State and Local Assessment Leaders and Educators of Measurement—have offered webinars in the summer for their SIGMIE members and NCME members at large. I hope our members are able to take advantage of the learning opportunities.

The year of 2020 has been and will continue to be a roller-coaster. We are all figuring it out as we go. It is important and reassuring to be part of the NCME community. As a member of this community, I know that I have a wealth of resources and support I can draw upon. I am committed to do what I can to best serve our organization. To all NCME members, stay safe, healthy, and to the extent possible, sane. We will meet again—hopefully soon.


Ye Tong, Ph.D.

NCME President