SOURCE: EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE

Educational Testing Service

May 19, 2010 11:20 ET

ETS Unveils Innovations to Help States Meet Goals Driven by Race to the Top and ESEA Reauthorization

ESEA Reauthorization Highlighted at Praxis™ Client Conference

PRINCETON, NJ--(Marketwire - May 19, 2010) -  At the recent Praxis™ Client Conference, Educational Testing Service revealed several new innovations, including a new data analysis tool and computer-delivered assessments. In addition, Jo Anderson Jr., U.S. Department of Education, discussed the blueprint for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The Praxis Client Conference, hosted by ETS, is held annually to provide ETS's valued teacher licensure clients with key information about their licensure assessment programs for the coming year and to demonstrate ETS's commitment to education and dedication to their clients.

Linda Tyler, ETS Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Teacher Licensure and Certification, explains some of this year's enhancements. "The Praxis data tool enables users to access their test takers' Praxis performance data to create customized analyses and reports. In addition, we are moving a number of tests to computer delivery, including our new world languages tests. These online world languages tests will be the first teacher licensure languages tests to use the computer to capture the speaking portion of the test. The experts who score the languages tests will access the responses and evaluate them online."

At the conference's keynote presentation, Anderson, a senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, said that the reauthorization should have come in 2007 and is long overdue.

"It is President Obama's wish that by 2020, America will again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world," Anderson says. "The last time that was accurate was 20 years ago. The U.S. currently ranks 10th."

According to Anderson's presentation, the administration's blueprint focuses on four key pillars of reform: raising standards and improving assessments; recruiting and supporting effective educators; building robust data systems to track student progress and improve instruction; and turning around low-performing schools.

Anderson believes that "assessments will be a game changer" under ESEA reauthorization and that the federal role needs to change and expand to support and reward success. Great teachers and teacher leaders are critical to this effort.

"Much of teacher licensure focuses on inputs," Anderson explains. "We need to refocus on outcomes and effectiveness (with evidence of student learning playing a role in teacher evaluations). ETS is uniquely positioned to help states meet these goals as a world-wide leader in assessment development, to develop measures of teacher effectiveness."

For more information about how Praxis assessments can help states meet their ESEA goals, please visit www.ets.org/praxis.

Tyler says, "This year the conference's theme, 'Innovative Measures for Tomorrow's Teachers,' really struck a chord with our state clients as we unveiled a number of innovative tools that can help states push forward their goals for quality teaching in the classroom."

For example, several conference sessions were held for the purpose of demonstrating how well Praxis assessments align with the current draft of the common core standards and to ask clients how ETS can help with communication about the alignment to stakeholders in the states. The common standards impact a number of different areas that ETS assesses with Praxis II® tests including: early childhood and elementary education, mathematics, English language arts, reading, science, and social studies. In addition, Praxis I assessments are also aligned with the common standards.

The conference provides clients and potential clients the opportunity to meet with each other and with ETS staff members. It also affords clients the opportunity to tell ETS what they need and allows ETS staff to directly hear client concerns.

In related news, ETS recently launched an innovative test preparation tool to help teacher candidates prepare for a Praxis Elementary Education test used for teacher licensure in 26 states and territories. The Elementary Education: Content Knowledge Interactive Practice Test is a new, first-of-its-kind practice test that allows candidates to simulate an online testing experience with a fully interactive, retired practice test for the Elementary Education: Content Knowledge Test.

In addition, ETS has released a video, "Welcome to Your Computerized Praxis™ Testing Experience," which provides test takers with a preview of what to expect when visiting a Prometric® Testing Center to take Praxis I ®: Pre-Professional Skills Tests.

For additional Praxis test preparation materials, please visit the ETS Store.

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