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About the National Board - General Information

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:

  • A Board of Directors who represent different constituencies in American society and encompass a wide range of opinions and interests
  • Permanent staff who provide broad expertise in testing and public policy
  • Advisors 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 education.

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 meetings
  • popular dissemination of testing information via the web, PBS-type videos, press seminars, and spokesperson broadcasts


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