July 31, 2006 10:59 ET

Nation's Top Educators Gather for ETS Conference

PRINCETON, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 31, 2006 -- Educators from the nation's top colleges, universities, and foundations will gather at ETS for a one-day conference August 1, 2006, to address the issues they face in attracting, enrolling, and graduating students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

The STEM Summer Workshop is sponsored by ETS's Higher Education Division with support from the GRE Board. The topics addressed will include how to provide better information to help improve graduate degree completion rates, how a changing student populations and workforce impacts graduate study in the STEM disciplines, and alternative assessment measures that can be used to assess skills essential for success in the STEM fields.

"This is an opportunity to listen to faculty and national experts and work on solutions for the challenges they face every day in attracting and retaining students to undertake study in the STEM disciplines," says Mari Pearlman, Senior Vice President of ETS's Higher Education Division. "This applies to students generally and especially to first generation and underrepresented minority students. Based on what we hear, and the commitment we get from attendees, ETS will decide on new assessment tools and research projects to pursue to support the needs of the STEM fields."

ETS Principle Research Scientist Brent Bridgeman will give a presentation on alternative assessments including non cognitive, soft skills, and documented accomplishments. While these new assessments address most of the STEM challenges facing four-year colleges and universities, they also apply equally to community colleges and the issues associated with the pipeline channeling students into these disciplines.

ETS Assessment Specialist John Hawthorn will engage attendees in discussing and considering alternatives to the usual quantitative measures used on standardized admissions tests. From grant-giving organizations to community colleges and universities, the session will elicit feedback on how quantitative measures can be retooled to help solve the problems currently challenging the STEM disciplines.

Deborah Stewart, former president of the Council of Graduate Schools, and Isaac Colbert of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will provide an overview of the issues facing the STEM fields.


ETS is a nonprofit institution with the mission to advance quality and equity in education by providing fair and valid assessments, research and related services for all people worldwide. In serving individuals, educational institutions and government agencies around the world, ETS customizes solutions to meet the need for teacher professional development products and services, classroom and end-of-course assessments, and research-based teaching and learning tools. Founded in 1947, ETS today develops, administers and scores more than 24 million tests annually in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. Additional information is available at

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