From the President (Fall 2020)

By Megan Welsh posted 10-09-2020 23:00


Ye Tong, Pearson

Fall is here now, a fall that will be unique in so many ways. I hope you all are staying healthy and that if you have school-age children like me, the kids are staying productive and adapting to school’s new normal.

NCME 2020 Virtual Conference

NCME held our historic virtual conference from June through September. I hope all members were able to dial in to some sessions, to learn, to connect, and to celebrate our members’ accomplishments in the past year. Altogether, NCME offered 42 virtual sessions, with the median attendance at around 90 per session. Almost all sessions were recorded and can be accessed at the NCME YouTube channel. In addition, the conference site also houses the approximately 200 papers that were written for the NCME 2020 conference.

It should be noted that NCME offered the virtual conference sessions free of charge to our members this year. We thank all of our sponsors, presenters and training providers for making this possible. Special shout-outs to Program Chairs and Training Chair Thanos Patelis, Drew Wiley, Ada Woo, and Anita Rawls! You had to endure one of the longest terms in NCME history, and we appreciate all your efforts.

NCME 2021 Conference

It is about time we switch gears to planning for the 2021 conference, which is scheduled for June 8 to June 11, 2021, at Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor (401 West Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21201). The timing and location depart from our tradition of holding our annual conference at the same time and location as AERA. This break from tradition was chosen because AERA’s 2021 conference will be fully virtual. Because NCME is smaller and more nimble, the Board unanimously voted that we will pursue an in-person 2021 conference, if feasible. We obviously will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will hold the space-based conference only if it is safe to gather in June. I am still holding on to the hope that I will get to see many of our members in person during my presidential term!

Note, however, that NCME’s 2021 conference will accommodate both in-person and virtual attendance and participation. Our program chairs, Susan Davis-Becker and Leslie Keng, and our training chair, Sarah Quesen, are hard at work preparing for this unprecedented dual format. A virtual Town Hall was held on September 23, 2020; its recording is accessible on the NCME YouTube channel. An FAQ document about the 2021 conference can also be found at this link.

The theme of the NCME 2021 Conference is Bridging Research and Practice. My own day job is firmly in the design and implementation of real-world assessments, both in the K‒12 space and in the licensure/certification space. Being a practitioner, I value research and believe that it is the foundation for moving our field forward. Also because I am a practitioner, my bias lies with the research that can inform the practice of measurement, since practice is where our field can influence and impact people from all walks of life. I believe in practices that are grounded in research, hence my plea to our field to tighten the link between the two. For the 2021 conference, we will be encouraging submissions that help bridge research and practice.

Furthermore, we are encouraging our members to propose papers and sessions that discuss COVID-19’s short- and long-term effects on research and practice. I mentioned a few examples in my summer issue of the President’s Letter, but we will continue to observe additional shifts due to the pandemic. It is important, more than ever, that NCME members continue to combine our talents to shape the field of measurement. We owe it to our membership and the general public to continue these conversations.

Please note that some financial support for conference attendance is available for graduate students. The NCME Pipeline Scholarship will provide travel scholarships to graduate students from historically marginalized groups—specifically African American, Latino/a, and Native American students. Additionally, we may also need some reciprocal support from graduate students as we plan for the first-ever hybrid conference, the format of which will in turn enhance graduate students’ ability to attend the conference. Graduate students should be sure to take advantage of the special one-year free graduate student membership offer provided by NCME in recognition of COVID-19’s economic hardships.

A Few NCME Highlights

Formative Assessment for Classroom Teachers (FACT): The classroom assessment task force created a repository of formative assessment techniques on the NCME website to help support classroom teachers as they welcome students back to school. Make sure to check out these great resources.

EM:IP Special Fall Edition: EM:IP published a special issue on COVID-19’s impact on educational measurement. I want to give a shout-out to our current EM:IP editor Deborah Harris for putting such a thoughtful and timely volume together. If you haven’t done so, make sure to check out the articles in EM:IP’s special fall edition

New Editors: The publication committee has put out a call for editors for a few of NCME’s important publication outlets: NCME Newsletter, NCME Book Series, and EM:IP. Congratulations to Art Thacker, who will be the next editor for the NCME Newsletter. Congratulations to Kadriye Ercikan for taking on the editor role for the NCME Book Series. We appreciate your services to NCME! We are currently searching for the next editor for EM:IP.

Position Paper: NCME released a position statement on testing English Learners. The position paper points out key factors to consider when designing and evaluating a test for students who are English Learners.

Annual Awards: The call is out for NCME 2021 Awards. The due date for nominations is January 6, 2021. NCME offers seven unique awards, each with its own background, eligibility, and nomination criteria. Nominate your colleagues so that they can be acknowledged and celebrated for the outstanding contribution they have made to our field.