About the Educational Measurement and Assessment Hub

Structure

In August 2016, the Sydney School of Education and Social Work within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of The University of Sydney, created the Educational Measurement and Assessment Hub. Professor Jim Tognolini was appointed as its first director. The hub is responsible to the Dean of the Sydney School of Education and Social Work.

Current staff include Professor Jim Tognolini (founding director), Michelle Davidson (senior research assistant and adjunct associate lecturer), Dr Yoshitaka Nakakoji (postdoctoral research associate) and Beverley Powell (executive assistant to the director). Other faculty and students from the School of Education and Social Work are also occasionally involved in various hub activities, particularly, Belinda Chambers, and Dr Rachel Wilson and her postgraduate students.

The intention is that the activities conducted by the hub in teaching, research and consulting will enable it to become a self-funding unit within the Sydney School of Education and Social work.



Activities

The hub will undertake a range of activities including those listed below.

Teaching

Programs for initial teacher education will focus on basic assessment theory and its link to school curriculum, classroom assessment, and how to read, interpret and use data and assessment.

Research themes

The hub's research program will focus on:

  • developing theories and models of educational assessment to improve formative and summative assessment in different educational settings
  • evaluating how the different types of assessment influence the effectiveness of learning and learning systems
  • exploring the impacts and opportunities of new assessment technologies in test design, distribution, administration and delivery of results
  • constructing and validating measurement scales for cognitive and non-cognitive constructs
  • researching notions of validity and reliability in different educational assessment contexts
  • exploring how psychometrics is changing education and assessment and how it is impacting on lifelong learning.

Consultancy and entrepreneurial activities

The hub will provide services to third parties. These will include the provision of assessment and psychometric consulting for governments and organisations, as well as short-term, issue-specific consulting services. In addition, the hub will develop assessment products – or an assessment itself – such as a “critical thinking” or “collaborative problem solving” instrument.



Some current activities

Some of the most visible activities undertaken by the hub since its inception have been:

  • presenting an Invitational Address entitled “Global assessments and the assessment market” for RTI International in North Carolina on 25 April 2017.

  • establishing the Educational Measurement Interest Group. This group has been established for members of the educational community that are involved in assessment, measurement and psychometric projects. It comes together every 6–8 weeks to listen to and discuss some of the many and varied assessment and measurement projects that are being carried out by the members of the group.

  • presenting addresses on educational measurement and assessment at international conferences including: an address to the 18th UNESCO-APEID Conference, 26–28 October 2016 in Bangkok, entitled “A way to think about measuring transversal, co-scholastic and all those difficult values, attitudes and skills that now punctuate modern curricula around the world”; other addresses at conferences include two keynote presentations in Dalian in China on November 3 and 4, 2016. The first was entitled, “Global trends in large-scale, high-stakes assessment” and, the second was entitled “A way to think about measuring non-cognitive skills in China’s quality comprehensive evaluation framework”.

  • conducting international capacity building workshops on educational measurement and assessment topics including a workshop in Lao on “Capacity Development: test and item development and design” in Lao for the UNESCO; a similar workshop in Almaty, Kazakhstan entitled “Capacity Development Workshop: assessment literacy and test and item development and design”; a series of workshops in China addressing the development of performance standards, writing higher-order thinking skill (HOTS) items, and building rubrics to assess non-cognitive skills.

  • providing consulting services to The University of Sydney in building scales to measure graduate qualities such as cultural competence, critical thinking and influence. Hub staff have also provided consulting services to the Australian Institute for Teaching and Learning Limited (AITSL), the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and the Western Australian Schools Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCASA) on projects related to establishing comparability across assessments of teacher effectiveness against professional standards; unpacking the assessment standards of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers into elaborations which need to be known and understood before the standards can be demonstrated; and validating the Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA).

  • staff supervising and co-supervising postgraduate studies for local and international students in the areas of educational measurement, assessment and psychometrics.

  • recruiting distinguished educational measurement and assessment professionals to be honorary associates of the hub.

The Educational Measurement and Assessment Hub (EMAH) is willing to participate in partnerships with staff in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work, with other centres within the University, and/or with other institutions and external organisations or companies. The role of the hub in such partnerships may range from consultation to joint collaboration in large-scale research projects. As measurement, assessment and psychometrics are an integral part of numerous projects across a range of disciplines, such partnerships will undoubtedly play a significant role in the EMAH’s future.