Educational Testing Service

May 21, 2010 09:33 ET

ETS Board of Trustees Establish Frederiksen Chair in Assessment Innovation

Bennett Named First Incumbent

PRINCETON, NJ--(Marketwire - May 21, 2010) -  In April, the Board of Trustees of Educational Testing Service established the Norman O. Frederiksen Chair in Assessment Innovation and named Randy Bennett, Distinguished R&D Scientist, as the first incumbent.

The Chair honors the contributions of "Fritz" Frederiksen, an ETS Distinguished Research Scientist whose work centered on devising innovative ways to measure complex problem solving in education and in occupational settings through the use of constructed-response and performance tasks. His belief that such tasks could measure important skills not captured by conventional tests continues to be a key driver behind innovative assessment models being proposed for the Race to the Top Assessment Program.

The Trustees' resolution that created the Frederiksen Chair calls upon ETS to appoint to this position, "a highly accomplished researcher and scholar whose work builds on and expands the academic and intellectual traditions exemplified by the achievements of Dr. Norman O. Frederiksen."

Bennett says, "It's an extraordinary honor for me to be named to the Frederiksen Chair. It certainly wouldn't have happened without the many ETS colleagues who so generously collaborated with me and from whom I've learned so much over the years."

Bennett came to ETS in 1978 as a predoctoral fellow in the division directed by Fritz Frederiksen. Most of Bennett's subsequent research has followed Frederiksen's lead.

"The approach Fritz took to test design and validation was grounded in cognitive theory, particularly in trying to understand the thinking processes individuals brought to bear in real-world problem solving and how to measure them in test situations," Bennett says. "Our only real addition to his approach was to add computer technology, which was unavailable in his day."

In his work, Bennett has tried to integrate advances in cognitive science, technology, and measurement to create new approaches to assessment. During the 1980s and 1990s, his research helped create and evaluate innovative item types in mathematics, verbal reasoning, social science and computer science, as well as methods for their automated scoring.

From 1999 through 2005, Bennett directed the NAEP Technology Based Assessment project, which explored the use of computerized testing in NAEP, and helped lay the groundwork for the 2009 administration of the NAEP science Interactive Computer Tasks and the upcoming 2011 NAEP online writing assessment.

Since 2007, Bennett has led the research initiative, Cognitively-Based Assessment of, for, and as Learning (CBAL). Following directly from Frederiksen's philosophy, this initiative is attempting to create a model for a balanced system of K - 12 assessment that both provides accountability information and supports classroom learning.

Bennett is a recipient of the ETS Senior Scientist Award (1996) and the ETS Career Achievement Award (2005).

Frederiksen was an early proponent of performance assessment and inventor of the "In-Basket" test, currently used throughout industry and government for assessing managerial skill.

Frederiksen came to ETS from a faculty position at Princeton University in the early 1950s. He passed away in Princeton, N.J., in 1998.

The Frederiksen Chair stands alongside three existing chairs: the Frederic M. Lord Chair in Measurement and Statistics, the Samuel J. Messick Chair in Validity and the Edmund W. Gordon Chair for Public Policy Evaluation and Research.

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