The CEM delegation, composed of Dr. Maria Cynthia A. Alcantara, CEM President, and staffers from the Test Development, Information Technology, and Research Sections: Armi S. Lantano, Eric A. Tadeo, Rodney G. Servida, and Kathryn M. Tan, attended the 43rd Annual International Association for Educational Assessment (IAEA) Conference in Hilton Batumi, Georgia on October 1 – 6, 2017.
In line with the theme “Assessment as a Social Lever,” Dr. Alcantara shared her work on “Assessing the school’s thrust of social awareness and involvement in curricular and co-curricular programs of Miriam College,” while Ms. Lantano and Mr. Tadeo presented “Differential Validity, Differential Prediction and the Elementary Level Competency Measure.”
The event, which was hosted by the National Assessment and Examination Center (NAEC), the largest educational assessment organization in Georgia, provided a venue for assessment specialists and researchers to share their perspectives, experiences, insights, and innovations related to the topics on: Validity, Fairness, and Equal Opportunities in Assessment, Reducing Social Biases through Assessment, Use of Technology to Increase Access to Fair Testing, Raising Standards through High-Stakes Testing – the Social and Educational Consequences, Using Assessment Policy to Reflect Changing International and National Curricular Priorities, Impact of Testing on the Curriculum and on Approaches to Learning, Implications of Using Test Data as Basis for Accountability in an Educational System, the Global Agenda for 21st Century Learning and the Role of Formative and Summative Assessments, and Social Policy towards Vocational and Occupational Assessment and Alternative Qualifications.
Professor Jo-Anne Baird of the Department of Education at Oxford University opened the conference with her presentation, “Assessment as a Policy Lever,” emphasizing the implications of assessments driving local and national policies and highlighting the important role of examination boards in ensuring that such a process considers the needs and interests of stakeholders.
A panel presentation on “Looking to the Future – Views from the Examination Boards” discussed some of the new developments and challenges that examination boards foresee in the field of assessment. Nino Revishvili from NAEC and Anat Ben-Simon of Israel’s National Institute for Testing and Evaluation (NITE) shared how their respective boards are addressing, among others, the prospect of technology playing a greater role in assessment, the increased use of alternative admission tracks that bypass examinations, greater focus on fairness, accessibility and equitable opportunities, and the need for continued building of public trust in assessment.
Professor Hariharan Swaminathan from the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut delivered a second keynote address on “Assessment and Education Reform”, which examines the evolving role of assessments in education, tracing the history of developments in educational assessment in the United States that have led to its current place in accountability and educational improvement. This was followed by a special session, “Increasing the Accessibility, Fairness and Validity of Inferences Made From Test Scores,” where representatives from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Educational Testing Service (ETS) discussed standards on validity, fairness, and test design and development, promoted by the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.
Dr. Steve Rivkin from the Economics Department of the University of Illinois in Chicago closed the conference with a keynote address on, “Use of Achievement Measures to Raise the Quality of Instruction and School Leadership.” He discussed evaluation systems in the US that link student achievement with teacher and school leader evaluation. Lessons learned on what elements make such systems successful were presented.
Aside from attendance to the above sessions, the CEM delegates’ visit to the 1st Batumi Public School and Batumi University was also a valuable learning experience as they were able to connect with educators from other countries and broaden their understanding of the instructional practices and learning activities of these schools.
Pre and post-conference workshops on assessing higher order thinking skills, large-scale high-stakes computer-based and computer adaptive testing, and the practice and challenge of validation led by Cito, Netherlands, NAEC and Cambridge Assessment were also some of the event’s highlights.
The 44th Annual IAEA conference will be held in Oxford, United Kingdom on September 9-14, 2018 and hosted by the Oxford University Centre. The theme of the conference will be “Assessment and Big Data.”