New Meridian is proud to be a sponsor of the National Council on Measurement in Education annual meeting, an event that will draw roughly 1,200 educational professionals to San Diego this month to discuss the future of assessment.
The conference theme, “Turn the Page—The Next Chapter for Educational Measurement,” promises lively discussion about how testing systems will change in American schools. “We no longer need to worry about disrupting established practice,” the organization says. “That’s already happened. Now we decide what’s next, and we do so with diversity and inclusivity as our animating goal.”
Terran Brown, vice president for assessment design and development at New Meridian, says the conference will take on additional weight this year because of the pandemic.
What’s happening now is there is a lot of attention on assessment, so it’s a prime opportunity to get new conversations and thoughts about what’s going on and how the industry is facing the issues. For that reason alone, this year is going to be very valuable.
New Meridian is a Gold sponsor and the company will send a full delegation to the conference April 21 to 24, many of whom are NCME veterans and eager to mix with colleagues in person.
“This is my third time attending the NCME Annual Meeting and I’m excited to be attending in person for the first time,” said Kerry Cotter, assessment solutions architect at New Meridian. “This year, I’m looking forward to several sessions about through-year assessment, fairness and equity, and cognitive diagnostic models because they are relevant to our work developing next-generation assessments.”
Sakine Gocer Sahin, New Meridian’s newest psychometrician, has attended the conference for the last five years. “I’ve attended so many international conferences and I’ve found that the people at NCME are really spending time to improve measurement in education,” she said. “It was exclusively virtual last year due to the pandemic, but people were still eager to listen to all the interesting topics.”
Brown to Speak at AERA
The American Educational Research Association annual conference will also be in San Diego during the same time period, April 21 to 26.
Brown will participate in a panel discussion sponsored by both NCME and AERA examining the pandemic’s impact on educational outcomes for marginalized populations through the lens of research methodology. The event will feature breakout sessions allowing participants to address major questions, and then it will convene to allow the panel to weigh in on those same issues.
“Some of the key questions that they’re looking at are, what challenges has the pandemic brought to light about fairness and equity and how we can address these challenges,” Brown said. “This is really about how we approach research in our practices.”
In addition to Brown, the panel will include: Alexandra E. Pavlakis of Southern Methodist University; Margarita Olivera Aguilar of Educational Testing Service; Jay Schyler Raadt of Marine Corps University; Pohai Kūkea Shultz of the University of Hawaii – Manoa; and Edna Tan of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. The breakout sessions will allow the audience to participate.
“I think we’re going to hear a wide variety of perspectives, including perspectives that may not have a very positive view of assessment,” Brown said. “That’s a voice right now: ‘assessments hurt students and have no impact on instruction.’ There will also be individuals on the other side saying assessments are extremely valuable, because if we lose track of where kids are, we may be losing a generation. I also think they’ll be asking the industry to do better. Not to maintain the status quo, but to be better.”
At both NCME and AERA, many are looking forward to seeing colleagues and discussing the challenges and solutions ahead. Donna Butterbaugh, manager of psychometrics and research services at New Meridian, summed it up well.
“I’m looking forward to seeing colleagues again,” she said. “It’s always extremely valuable to stay abreast of what others are doing in the field.”