The White House


This week it was a privilege to represent the Jefferson Education Accelerator and the University of Virginia Curry School of Education as a participant in the White House Convening on Better, Fewer, and Fairer Assessments

It was a fascinating day, as I’ll describe below, but it was actually our third visit to the White House this year.

In October, I gave a presentation at the White House Symposium on the Future of Education R&D and Digital Learning about our work at JEA and UVA.  There, I discussed why the Jefferson Education Accelerator, Digital Promise, and the University of Virginia Curry School of Education are organizing a year-long academic symposium focused on the importance of efficacy research.  (Heart-warmingly, more than a dozen of the VIPs at the White House that day had already signed up to be among the 150 education leaders who have joined our effort.)

In November, I had the opportunity to help moderate and facilitate the White House Symposium on Sustaining the Momentum for Innovation in Higher Education, where we discussed progress being made on the Department of Education’s EQUIP effort.  Careful readers may recall that last November Ben Wallerstein and I wrote about EQUIP for EdSurge last November.

For this week’s White House Convening on Better, Fewer and Fairer Assessments, the day began with a speech by Secretary King and breakout sessions on innovation, accessibility, and transparency.  We then heard from a series of experts who are working to improve assessments, including from Ed Metz from SBIR/IES/ED,* who described some impressive progress in the field of technology-enabled assessments.   We then got to have hands-on time with some of the innovative companies that were invited to demonstrate their programs at the White House “Assessment Tech Jam.”

It was great to see so many interesting assessment innovations in development.  As you may know, assessments are an area of focus us:  We recently announced that we have selected and are working with Formative, which is a leader in “formative teaching” and is already used by teachers in over one-third of U.S. school districts.  We will be helping Formative conduct quasi-experimental research on the effectiveness of its use of formative assessment data on teaching and learning.  

Next week we'll return to the White House for the final team this year, as we gather with other researchers who are focused on evaluating the most promising learning games.  After that event, I'll present to the 50+ participating companies about What’s the atmosphere for investing in learning games? What would a private funder need to see to invest in learning games?   

Let the innovation and evaluation continue.


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