Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pearson is Nashville Bound!

Pearson is excited about our opportunity to share aspects of our research agenda with participants of the annual CCSSO Conference on Large Scale Assessment. Each year, CCSSO sponsors many important events supporting education, but the main opportunity for all of us to get together is the annual assessment conference. This year, the conference is venturing back across the Mississippi river to the "Volunteer State." I, for one, look forward to exploring Nashville and anticipate another wonderfully informative conference.

Based on just the presentations sponsored by or accepted from Pearson, the conference is likely to be another big success.

CCSSO Sessions for 2007
(Dates and Times are tentative. Please consult the conference program for final arrangements.)

Sunday, June 17, 3:45 - 5:15 pm
Assessments for English Language Learners: Validity Evidence from California and Texas
-Kimberly O'Malley

Leveraging Technology for State Assessments: Testing Directors Share Current Initiatives and Future Visions
-Denny Way

Monday, June 16, 8:00 - 10:00 am
Vertical Integration of Benchmarks and Standards: Including Alternate Assessments in Evaluating Growth
-Scott Davies

Gridded Response Items: Should They Be Used in High-Stakes Testing?
-Kimberly O'Malley, Rob Kirkpatrick, Ahmet Turhan

1:30 - 3:00 pm
Anticipated/Unanticipated Consequences of NCLB: An Applied Psychometric Perspective from Testing Industry Leaders
-Jon Twing

Can Statewide Assessments Identify Students Ready for College without ACT or SAT Scores?
-Jon Twing (Organizer)

3:30 - 5:00 pm
Comparability of Two Common Test Variations
-Steve Fitzpatrick

Comprehensive Integration of Paper/Pencil and Online Testing - Making It Happen: Program Management and Operational Perspective
-Kim Carson

Tuesday, June 19, 8:15 - 9:45 am
Innovative Science Assessment Supports for Students with Disabilities
-Michael Harms

Improving the Working Relationships Between States and Their Contractors - Steps Each can Take
-Michael Hussey

1:45 - 3:35 pm
Portfolio- and Events-Based Approaches to Alternate Assessments: Improvements on Assessing the 1% Student Population
-Scott Davies, Karen Squires, and Linda Zimmerman (Organizers)

Challenges and Opportunities in Designing Innovative Computer-based Test Items
-Ellen Strain-Seymore

Using New Automated Technologies to Scoring Writing Assessments
-Paul Nichols, Karen Lochbaum

4:15 - 5:50 pm
Field Testing to Support Assessment Programs: Options, Pitfalls, and Technical Considerations
-Rob Kirkpatrick

Wednesday, June 20, 9:00 - 10:30 am
Standard Setting Approaches for Alternate Assessments: Experiences and Research
-Scott Davies

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bullies Grow Up to be Bullies

When I was in school countless years ago, I had my run in with bullies, too. They were not bigots, racists, or otherwise terrorists. They were your average "tough thugs" who would take my lunch money, pin my arms behind my back, and occasionally beat me up. These experiences were not fun and did not cause me undue mental trauma (at least none that I know of). While these experiences might have been hard for some, I have since long forgotten them. That is, until I ran into one of these bullies at the Ontario airport. This thug was hogging the space for bags on the shuttle bus, and was being abusive to me and the others as we tried to board the bus. The same feelings, which I thought had faded away long ago, came rushing back quicker than that embarrassed feeling us 70's graduates have when we hear the Bee Gees.

This story is relevant for education because the national debate on what to do with bullies at school has recently had some air play. Iowa, for instance, recently passed a bill "to ban bullying in all Iowa schools," so says the Des Moines Register. According to the article, at the time of signing, Iowa was one of only ten states in the nation to enact such a comprehensive anti-bullying act. While this act does include provisions that I might otherwise call discrimination (i.e., the bullying of gays), it also covers the old fashion kind I am familiar with.

A school bully does indeed grow up to be a bully in life, as I am sure was the case with my encounter at the Ontario airport. Similarly, according to Urbandale Superintendent Greg Robinson:
"I think our kids see adults bully each other all the time. Before I comment on someone else's behavior, I've got to take care of my own."

So don't scoff at the debate on bullying. Eliminating bullying in our schools will allow us the time and energy to focus on education—and may very well keep me from getting beat up in airports.