Educational Testing Service

October 05, 2010 10:24 ET

MEDIA ADVISORY: Symposium to Examine Family Factors' Critical Role in Closing Achievement Gaps

New Data Describe Today's Families as "Complex and Unstable"

PRINCETON, NJ--(Marketwire - October 5, 2010) -  More than 200 education and policy leaders are expected to attend Educational Testing Service's 14th annual addressing achievement gaps symposium titled, "The Family: America's Smallest School," providing a forum for policymakers, legislators, educators, practitioners and researchers to discuss the deep and enduring impact that the family environment has on a child's development and academic achievement.

Of note is the "Today's Families: An Unstable and Complex Picture" presentation in which Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Professor of Child Development and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University will present new family data and discuss the transformative implications of America's families becoming more like European-style families for the well-being of the nation's children and their readiness for school.

Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Dr. Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana will deliver the keynote address, "Providing a World Class Education for All America's Learners: The Role of Families and Communities."

What: "The Family: America's Smallest School"
When: Monday, October 18, 2010
  7:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Where: The Willard Intercontinental Hotel
  1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
  Washington, D.C. 20004

There exists a growing need for a consensus on practices and policies to bring about changes that can narrow the achievement gaps between people of various races, ethnicities and social classes. In recognition of this, the symposium will address, among others, the following questions:

  • What is the current status and structure of U.S. families?
  • What characteristics and behaviors of parents and families contribute to or diminish student achievement?
  • How can changes in the condition of parents and families contribute to the narrowing of the achievement gap?
  • What programs, practices and policies can be identified that tangibly contribute to building strong families?
  • What national, state and local policies on parents and families should be strengthened, implemented and replicated to make progress in closing achievement gaps?

Breakfast and lunch will be provided. For a detailed agenda and a list of key sessions, presentations and speakers, please visit Media interested in attending should contact Jason Baran at (609) 683-2428 or

About ETS
At nonprofit ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English-language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually -- including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® test and The Praxis Series™ assessments -- in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

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