What is the National Board on Educational
Testing and Public Policy?
The National Board on Educational
Testing and Public Policy (NBETPP), housed in the Lynch School of
Education at Boston College, is an independent organization that monitors
testing in the United States. The Board provides ongoing information
on the uses and outcomes of educational testing for decision making
purposes, paying special attention to groups historically underserved
by the educational system.
Why is the NBETPP focusing on testing?
Tests are powerful policy tools for
educational improvement. Tests can provide useful feedback on teaching
and learning when they are developed and used properly. Tests can
also lead to serious, if unintended negative consequences for students,
educators, and schools. Because tests can have such positive or negative
consequences, it is important to monitor their use in an ongoing fashion.
How is the NBETPP structured?
The NBETPP includes a number of components:
Board of Directors who represent different constituencies in
American society and encompass a wide range of opinions and interests
staff who provide broad expertise in testing and public policy
who provide expertise and guidance for specific projects
How does the NBETPP carry out its work?
The Board gathers, creates, and synthesizes
information on testing from a variety of sources. This information
is provided to, among others, students, parents, educators, and policy
makers to aid in educational decision making. A number of initiatives
are set in motion by the Board itself. These include periodic reports
(e.g., a report on the state of testing in the U.S.) and general reports
(e.g. a primer on testing).Other initiatives are set in place by request
(e.g., evaluations of state-level testing programs) and result in
specific reports of interest to policy makers and professionals in
Who are the audiences for the NBETPP?
The Board addresses a number of audiences.
These include shapers of policy (policy makers and the media); students,
parents, and educators; representatives of advocacy groups; test developers;
and scholars and policy analysts.
How does the NBETPP disseminate information?
Given the range of audiences, the Board disseminates
information using a variety of approaches. These include:
- professional reports on testing issues, practices, and programs
- a series of broadly accessible reports on testing issues/topics
- introductory background material on testing and public policy
- presentations at educational conferences and other professional
- popular dissemination of testing information via the web, PBS-type
videos, press seminars, and spokesperson broadcasts