LAWRENCE — Experts in assessment and education from around the world will convene in Lawrence in October 2015 for the 41st annual International Association for Educational Assessment Conference. Hosted by the Center for Educational Testing & Evaluation at the University of Kansas, the gathering will bring together practitioners, researchers, policymakers and examination authorities from more than 50 countries for a global forum to share innovative ideas about educational assessment.
IAEA leadership formally announced CETE as the 2015 host in Singapore on May 30 at the conclusion of its 2014 conference. Other conference sites in recent years have included Australia, Azerbaijan, Israel, the Philippines, Thailand and the United Kingdom. The selection of Lawrence, a city of about 90,000 in the rolling hills of northeast Kansas, means the conference will be held in the U.S. for the first time since Philadelphia hosted in 2004. The conference is expected to attract more than 350 attendees.
“We are delighted to welcome our colleagues in IAEA to Kansas,” said CETE Director Marianne Perie. “This selection is testament to CETE’s reputation as one of the field’s leading university research centers. We are well into planning what we expect will be a stimulating exchange of ideas on topics of great significance in the field. We believe our international colleagues will enjoy Lawrence’s blend of big-city sophistication and small-town friendliness.”
Scheduled for Oct. 11-15, 2015, at the KU Memorial Union, the conference will center on the theme The Three Most Important Considerations in Testing: Validity, Validity, Validity, said Neal Kingston, director of KU’s Achievement & Assessment Institute, of which CETE is part.
“Validity is the extent to which inferences drawn from test scores are appropriate,” Kingston said, “and it is by far the most important technical characteristic of a test. But because it is much more challenging to establish validity than other test desiderata, it has gotten short shrift in most testing programs. For this conference, we want presenters to explore how advances in technology, test development, psychometrics and score reporting can help to improve the validity of educational testing programs.”
Kingston said that Hans Rosling and Lorrie Shepard will serve as the conference’s keynote speakers. Rosling is a professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and Edutainer of Gapminder Foundation. He is a Swedish medical doctor, academic, statistician and public speaker. Shepard is a University Distinguished Professor in Research & Evaluation Methodology and Dean of the School of Education at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Her research focuses on psychometrics and the use and misuse of tests in educational settings.
“The Trustees of IAEA are thrilled that the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation will host the 2015 conference,” said IAEA Vice President Randy Bennett. “CETE is engaged in the development of some of the most innovative assessments in the field today. IAEA's international membership is very much looking forward to an extremely stimulating, productive and enjoyable experience in Lawrence."
The International Association for Educational Assessment offers a global forum for all professionals involved in all forms of educational assessment – in primary or secondary schools, colleges or the workplace. Members include examining bodies, university departments, research organizations and government agencies from more than 50 countries.
The broad purpose of IAEA is to assist educational agencies in the development and appropriate application of educational assessment techniques to improve the quality of education. IAEA believes that this is best achieved through international cooperation and seeks to facilitate the development of closer ties among relevant agencies and individuals around the world. IAEA submits that such international cooperation can help nations learn from each other without any diminution of their cultural autonomy.
IAEA’s primary objectives:
- to improve communication among organizations involved in educational assessment by sharing professional expertise through conferences and publications, and by providing a framework within which cooperative research, training, and projects involving educational assessment can be undertaken.
- to make expertise in assessment techniques more readily available for the solution of educational problems.
- to cooperate with other agencies having complementary interests.
- to engage in other activities for the improvement of assessment techniques and their appropriate use by educational agencies around the world.
AAI is the umbrella organization for four specialized educational research centers at KU, including CETE, a nationally recognized research center specializing in large-scale assessment and online test-delivery systems. As part of a major research university community, staff members are deeply committed to expanding the knowledge base for academic assessment, applying their findings with the fundamental aim of helping teachers and students achieve the best possible outcomes. For more than 30 years, CETE has developed leading-edge testing programs and technology tools.
AAI’s other research centers are Agile Technology Solutions, the Center for Public Partnerships & Research, and the Center for Educational Opportunity Programs. In all, AAI employs about 350 professionals, all committed to building partnerships, products and programs in educational practice, assessment and evaluation. These initiatives benefit children, adults, communities and publicly funded agencies at the local, state and national levels.