Dr. Vickie Cartwright
Presidential Address 2012
Race to the Top initiatives and goals of measuring teacher and school effectiveness through value-added and growth models have propelled the areas of assessments and accountability forward. As we move towards the Common Core Standards with the PARCC and SMARTER consortiums and assessments, the days of teachers, schools, districts, and states closing their doors to what students are instructed, what the assessments measure, and how data are reported is quickly transitioning to a more standardized process across the United States. Many will view this movement as a good thing for our students and others will see this as a detriment to those same students. Though there will be a standardized curriculum, there remains flexibility from state to state with the provisions of adding additional standards. This addition allows states to continue to serve the unique needs of the students and communities for which they serve. States will continue to need to identify how they will measure any additional curriculum added to the Common Core and how that additional data will be reported.
In order to measure teacher and school effectiveness, valid and reliable assessments must be created to measure the curriculum for each course. This can add stress both financially and human capital to state and district offices. Creating high quality assessments that measure content accurately, can be administered reasonably, and can withstand legal challenges requires expertise from statisticians, test directors, and curriculum experts along with other key personnel. Once data has been established, creating a value-added or growth model that takes into account the unique qualities that students possess and accurately measures will be critical.
Because of the high-stakes nature that all of these assessments will bring, it will be important that test security practices become standardized across the nation. Testing improprieties is an area that will have intense focus from various audiences: parents, teachers, schools, districts, states, politicians, businesses, and communities. As this area comes into the limelight, there will become a need to have a balanced approach on testing security. This approach will need to be stringent enough to minimize the possibility of an impropriety but not so difficult that an immense burden is placed on school personnel limiting their ability to administer the test.
The National Association of Assessment Directors (NAAD) has been a resource to address challenges such as these for an extended period of time. It has been my honor to belong to this organization as a member and now lead this organization as we look forward. NAAD allows for collaborative discussions to occur and facilitates future discussions with experts as the nation moves into new areas in education. Last year during the breakfast meeting, we had an opportunity to hear Dr. Joe Wilhoft speak about updates to the PARCC and SMARTER assessments. These updates provided key and timely information as we are preparing our schools, districts, and states to implement the test. Dr. Joe Ryan also provided a workshop on linking and equating of assessments. This workshop provided vital information necessary for individuals to understand the importance of writing assessments as we prepare to measure the curriculum for each course. Drs. Daniel McCaffrey, Damian Betebenner, and Pete Goldschmidt presented information about measuring teacher effectiveness through value-added and growth models. Drs. Margaret Heritage and Steve Cantrell facilitated the discussion to allow for a comprehensive examination of the topic.
We are very pleased to once again have experts speak about the important topics of using data to impact teacher practice and student achievement as well as testing improprieties. During our Annual Breakfast and Business Meeting on Friday morning, Dr. John Fremer will conduct a conversation about “Anomalous Testing”. On Sunday afternoon, Drs. Enis Dogan, Kim Schildikamp, Arie van der Plog, and Jeff Wayman will present “Data Use in a World of Common Standards and Assessments: How can aligned, timely and comparative student assessment data impact teacher practice and support student success?” at the NATD/NCME Joint Invited Symposium. Finally, our annual NATD membership and networking dinner will take place on Saturday evening.
We welcome you and hope that you will be able to join us at all of these opportunities for professional engagement, collaboration, and reflection as we continue to prepare for the new era in assessment and accountability!
Dr. Vickie Cartwright
Accountability, Research and Assessment
Orange County Schools