Some education stakes in the Washington debate this week.
Surprised this kind of thing has not attracted more attention. There are less intrusive and privacy threatening ways to accomplish the same goal.
For the record, let me say how much I like and respect Chris Minnich, who has done important work at NWEA and before. So this isn’t about him.
But this NWEA announcement of what’s essentially the acquisition of an assessment tool from one provider to another seems sorta interesting. It has a white hat quality to it and was circulated around in a “isn’t this great” way. You have to wonder if some for-profit testing company did the same thing would it be treated the same way? I don’t think I ever received an excited note from someone about Scantron…You hear bouquets about NWEA all the time.
It’s also a good reminder that for all the hysterics about Pearson, a lot of assessment companies are, like NWEA, non-profit and that seems to allow them to fly under the radar. NWEA, ETS, the former Measured Progress now Cognia, for instance. Until recently AIR was a big player in statewide assessment. Some non-profits own for-profit assessment companies. It’s a mixed up world!
From where I sit the problems with assessment fall into a few broad buckets, structural issues like capital markets and support for real R & D, the marketplace itself (states), and then politics. The non-profit for profit status seems secondary. And it seems pretty clear that a firm can do good or not so good work on large scale assessment with either tax status.
In any event, my point, obviously, is that whomever does PR or marketing for NWEA ought to get a raise. They’ve cornered the market on being the “nice” testing company. And also maybe we all might think about the kaleidoscope way the assessment world is generally approached?