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Gregory Cizek appointed to National Assessment Governing Board

Gregory Cizek
Gregory Cizek

Gregory Cizek, Professor of Educational Measurement and Evaluation, has been appointed to a national board that helps set policies that guide the use of data to evaluate school performance.

Cizek was one of six people appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The appointees will help set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which is also known as the Nation’s Report Card. Cizek had previously served a partial term on the board.

“It’s a privilege to have these accomplished leaders with such diverse backgrounds agree to oversee NAEP,” Secretary DeVos said, in a statement released by the U.S. Department of Education. “The board plays an important role in assessing student achievement, and these members’ perspectives will be critical as we work to close the achievement gap and ensure all students have equal access to a great education.”

NAEP offers to the public and to education policymakers at the national, state and local levels, objective data on student performance in nearly a dozen subjects. The information NAEP provides helps education stakeholders evaluate the progress of American education, the department said. The 26-member nonpartisan, independent Governing Board determines the subjects and content of NAEP tests, sets the achievement levels for reporting and publicly releases the results.

Cizek has worked for 25 years in the field of applied assessment with specializations in standard setting, validity and test security and has served as president of the National Council on Measurement in Education. At Carolina, Cizek teaches courses in applied psychometrics, statistics, program evaluation and research methods. His scholarly interests include standard setting, testing policy, classroom assessment and cheating on tests.

Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, dean of the School of Education, said: “Greg Cizek is a national leader in the field of educational measurement. He is regularly called upon to lend his expertise as more education leadership bodies look for more effective ways to measure the effectiveness of their investments in education. I’m certain he will make important contributions in this role.”

Cizek said the NAEP program has provided the only source of data on progress in U.S. schools in important areas such as mathematics, science, reading, and other content areas. NAEP data has been used to gauge the credibility of achievement gains claimed by states and the progress of U.S. students, to assess the effects of large-scale interventions, and to help legislators in crafting effective educational policy, he said.

Cizek said three areas will demand the board’s attention. One will be ensuring the NAEP can continue to be a valid and reliable measure of achievement trends.

“In the face of changing content of some NAEP tests, the changing population of test takers, and other factors, the technical challenge of maintaining a valid trend measure is daunting,” he said.

Also, it will be important to respond to new demand for using tests like NAEP to provide information about students’ readiness for continued education beyond high school, Cizek said.

Additionally, there’s growing interest in using NAEP data on conjunction with other assessments – such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) – to gauge progress of U.S. students with other students around the world,” Cizek said.

“It will be important to investigate to what extent NAEP can be expanded to accomplish these linkages while retaining its technical quality for monitoring student achievement in the U.S.,” he said.

Cizek’s work is informed by a background that includes five years of teaching at the elementary and middle school levels in Michigan and service as a vice president of a local board of education in Ohio. Prior to coming to Carolina in 1999, he managed national licensure and certification testing programs for American College Testing, served as a test development specialist for a statewide assessment program, taught educational research and management at the University of Toledo and graduate-level statistics courses at Michigan State University, where he had earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Cizek said his appointment fills the test and measurement expert position on the board.

“Ultimately, my role will be to provide guidance with other board members to oversee a process that begins with developing assessments of difficult-to-measure constructs to creating mechanisms for providing useful information to policy makers, parents, educators, and all citizens concerned about maximizing educational opportunities and success for U.S. students,” he said.

Cizek is serving a four-year term on the commission.

Cizek said serving on the board will bring him back to work with former Michigan Gov. John Engler, who has been named to chair the board. During his Ph.D. program in the late 1980s, Cizek served in a policy internship for the Michigan state senate. His boss at the time was Engler, who was then-Michigan senate majority leader.

Also appointed to the board from North Carolina is former Gov. Beverly Perdue. With a background as a teacher, since leaving office she has initiated several education efforts, including founding and chairing DigiLEARN, a nonprofit institution designed to accelerate digital learning opportunities for all ages.

Read more about the appointments to the National Assessment Governing Board here.

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By Michael Hobbs