Cultural inclusion is the recognition that diversity enriches the learning experience at every level and that fostering an environment reflective of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, religions, orientations, capabilities and beliefs is healthy for our school systems. Education should impart honesty about who we are—and that must extend to assessment.

We’re taking a comprehensive effort to improve industry practices, eliminate bias in our assessment solutions, and examine our own corporate culture through the lens of becoming a fully-inclusive organization. We invite you to take a look at our efforts and, if you have ideas on how to make education more diverse, equitable and inclusive, to let us know.

Group of diverse students representing cultural inclusion in education`
Our Vision Statement

We envision New Meridian as an organization that promotes inclusivity to be a place where folks are comfortable bringing their authentic self, where people feel heard, accepted, and valued, where we invite diverse perspectives and recognize differing experiences, and where we also reflect on our role as an assessment organization in expanding equity and opportunity for all students.

Improving Industry Practices

Parents, educators and policymakers are demanding that assessments be more accessible to students, regardless of background and culture. But how can communities evaluate testing systems? It’s an important question, and one that New Meridian is addressing directly. 

Working with some of America’s top assessment experts, we are developing a Culturally Relevant Assessment Framework that will help communities diagnose their systems and create assessments that support culturally responsive teaching and instruction.

We consider this a necessary challenge and one that is critically important to the future of assessment. Naturally, we will share what we learn as we progress. 

“Education does not work in America unless it works for every student. Assessment is the tool we use to ensure that all children are receiving an equal opportunity to learn. That means our tests must meet the highest standards of cultural inclusion. At New Meridian, there is nothing more important.”

Arthur VanderVeen, CEO

Enhancing Our Products

At New Meridian, we believe assessments must measure the skills that matter most: critical thinking, deep understanding, and the ability to communicate effectively. To do that, we strive to ensure every test question, whether in mathematics, science, or English language arts, is culturally inclusive, free of bias, and fair to the widest range of students possible.

Our review process is designed to increase cultural inclusion in education.

To do that, we have an extensive series of reviews, field tests and sophisticated statistical evaluation designed to ensure that every reading passage, every math problem and every single test question meets the rigorous standards in the New Meridian Fairness Guidelines. These guidelines, and the entire process, are reviewed and adjusted annually to guarantee that New Meridian assessments provide an equitable experience and a clear picture of student knowledge.

Addressing Corporate Culture

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group was formed at New Meridian to help envision, define and manage diversity and inclusion initiatives. The staff at New Meridian recognizes that we are strengthened by diversity and that the work we do benefits greatly from the different viewpoints and perspectives that result from different life experiences. We welcome the hard work it takes to truly understand one another.

The Working Group’s mission is to create a company that thrives by bringing together individuals from a variety of cultures, perspectives, orientations, and identities. Members of the group will work with the Executive Team to set a mission and vision for this work, identify areas of opportunity, create goals and milestones, suggest action and manage change.

Group of people on the diversity equity and inclusion working group

Goals of the New Meridian DEI Working Group

Champion an inclusive company culture.

Act as change agents for the organization, identifying areas where current culture, behaviors, and practices are not meeting our expectations for inclusivity, drawing on external best practices to build a fully inclusive company culture.

Impact corporate strategy.

Create opportunities for employees to have meaningful engagement with leadership to promote cultural inclusivity as a core business practice, and discuss issues relating to equity in the workplace.

Drive improved people practices. 

Formulate recommendations for the development or modification of policies and practices that positively impact diversity, inclusivity, and equity efforts.

Create an open dialogue.

Facilitate internal  learning opportunities in which employees may voluntarily participate and engage to develop or deepen  personal understanding of different cultures, backgrounds, and life experiences in the pursuit of a fully inclusive company culture. 

Ensure we give back.

Identify opportunities for the organization to engage with its broader communities and the field to promote equity, social justice, and inclusion (e.g., community volunteer activities, corporate social responsibility initiatives).

A Message From Our Founder

In June of 2020, as tens of millions of Americans took to the streets in a cry for racial justice that would become the largest movement ever on U.S. soil, I penned some of the most important words of my career.

“As an organization, we are taking time to reflect honestly on recent events and how we can be a force for positive change,” I wrote on our blog. “We will consider our blind spots, have the courage and grace to seek out diverse perspectives and share our own about race, inequity, and privilege in a way that leads to deeper understanding and empathy—and ultimately to action.”

Education is a primary weapon in the battle to break down racial and cultural barriers, end institutional racism and ensure that all Americans are treated equally. The ideas we impart in our schools have the power to bring about real, tangible change. As an assessment company, we can play a pivotal role. Our testing helps states determine what gets taught in classrooms.

I founded New Meridian to develop equitable assessments, but that means more than eliminating bias on a test form. It means that diversity, equity and inclusion must be held up as ideals, not just buzzwords, and that those ideals must be woven tightly into our values, our culture and the way we make decisions every day.

We created this page to explain the actions we are taking, and there is much work ahead. But our commitment will not waver. Equity stands at the very core of our mission, and every single one of us at New Meridian will do the hard work necessary to bring about change.

Arthur VanderVeen, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Join Us

We invite all educators and assessment professionals to join our efforts. If you would like to help develop the Culturally Relevant Assessment Framework, contact us and we’ll setup a time to talk. Please join the conversation on our LinkedIn account and share your ideas on how to make education more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

If you want to simply monitor what we are doing, use the form below to subscribe to The Prime newsletter, where we will report the latest developments.