LAWRENCE — Experts in assessment and education from 35 countries will convene next week in Lawrence for the 41st annual International Association for Educational Assessment (IAEA) Conference. Hosted by the Center for Educational Testing & Evaluation (CETE) at the University of Kansas, the gathering will bring together practitioners, researchers, policymakers and examination authorities for a global forum to share innovative ideas about educational assessment.
Scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 11, through Thursday, Oct. 15, at the Kansas 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. Registration remains open, with special rates of $200 for KU graduate students and $250 for all other local registrants. Members of the press should contact AAI Communications Manager Bill Woodard for credentials. Please visit the conference website for details of the proceedings.
“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, presenters will explore how advances in technology, test development, psychometrics and score reporting can help to improve the validity of educational testing programs.”
IAEA leadership selected CETE as host at the conclusion of its 2014 conference in Singapore. 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 take place in the U.S. for the first time since Philadelphia hosted in 2004.
“We are delighted to welcome our colleagues in IAEA to Kansas,” said CETE Director Marianne Perie. “The honor of hosting the conference is testament to CETE’s reputation as one of the field’s leading university research centers. We expect this to 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.”
Lorrie Shepard and Hans Rosling will serve as the conference’s keynote speakers.
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. She will speak at 9:15 a.m. Monday on “Designing, Linking and Evaluating Validity for Formative and Large-Scale Assessments.”
Rosling is a professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet and “edutainer” of Gapminder Foundation. He is a Swedish medical doctor, academic, statistician and public speaker. He will speak at 9 a.m. Thursday on “A Fact-Based Worldview.”
“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.
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. 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 500 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.