– Kudos all around for selecting a superior team!
At just the right time, Kentucky has a new “A Team” of nationally-known testing experts to advise us as we rebuild our defunct CATS testing program into something that cannot help being far better.
Most of the members of the reformed “National Technical Advisory Panel on Assessment and Accountability” (NTAPAA) – as the group is somewhat ponderously titled – have past experience in Kentucky.
Three of the reconstituted NTAPAA’s members previously served on a Kentucky Office of Education Accountability (OEA) 1995 panel. That panel provided a stunningly on-target and honest evaluation of Kentucky’s old KIRIS assessments. These experts already know about issues in our state.
Another new NTAPAA member proved her mettle when she was willing to speak what needed to be said, not just what some wanted to hear, during the 2008 CATS Review Task Force.
The remaining two members bring practical, front-line experience from state departments of education that have a track record of high success.
It’s an “A – Team” with the right mix of experience and expertise, and a track record of calling things like they are, not like some just would like to hear. That will be a refreshing, and much needed, change from the old NTAPAA. That former group mostly just stood by while our CATS assessment kept on providing a very poor picture of what was really happening in Kentucky. Frustrated legislators shut the old NTAPAA down as CATS was losing its final, last life.
So, here’s a “Hats Off” to Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee chairs Senator Jack Westwood and Representative Kent Stevens and their support staff for putting together the effort that created this superior team. It will be up to these legislative leaders to insure that we capitalize on the amazing talent in the new NTAPAA. We’ll need to keep the team on focus to support our exciting opportunity under Senate Bill 1 from 2009 to finally do assessment right in Kentucky. But, we also need to point out the superior quality of our advisory force as we get ready to compete for Race to the Top money in Washington.
Here is a very incomplete overview of the outstanding backgrounds of the new NTAPAA membership.
Professor Daniel Koretz is at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His impressive background marks him as one of America’s premier experts on testing. Dr. Koretz served on the OEA Panel in 1995, where his candor and knowledge provided Kentucky an extremely valuable insight into the real performance of the state’s first attempt at a reform assessment. I talked to Dr. Koretz after the meeting, and he is very anxious to steer some of his graduate students to research on Kentucky, which will give Kentucky the added benefit of Harvard-caliber studies at little or no cost.
Professor Ronald K. Hambleton brings a similar reputation in education testing to NTAPAA. Among his many current duties he is the Executive Director of the Center for Educational Assessment at the University of Massachusetts. He chaired the OEA Panel of 1995. Like Professor Koretz, Dr. Hambleton may be able to steer some of Kentucky’s issues on testing to very potent research teams. Certainly, his proved record of insight and candor from the 1995 OEA Panel will be of great value as we redesign our assessment program.
Professor Robert Linn has a long history of research at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is extremely well known in the national testing community. Linn served for many years as co-director of the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST), perhaps the most aggressive non-governmental education research organization in the country. He also is a past member of the 1995 OEA Panel, and is additionally a carry-over member of the past NTAPAA, which will provide continuity to the largely reformed advisory panel.
Jeffrey Nellhaus has served in a number of roles, including Acting Commissioner, at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This provided him incredibly valuable insight into the operation of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, which many consider to be the best state assessment program in the United States today. His practical experience will provide valuable enhancements to the technical expertise of Koretz, Hambleton and Linn.
Dr. Pat Rosechewski hails from the Nebraska Department of Education and currently directs that state’s statewide assessment program. Aside from practical assessment experience, she brings a teacher’s background to the panel, further fleshing out the practical experience expertise on this reformed group.
Dr. Doris L. Redfield is the chief executive officer of Edvantia, which is an outgrowth of the old Appalachian Educational Laboratory in West Virginia. She will bring valuable experience in the special areas of disadvantaged children and high poverty that challenge us in Kentucky. Her willingness to speak out in the CATS Task Force meetings was notable, and her candor will be very valuable.
On behalf of the Bluegrass Institute, I want to welcome all the new NTAPAA members to Kentucky. We really appreciate your willingness to help us turn the promise in Senate Bill 1 into a wonderful educational reality for our students.