Drs. Abrams and McMillan attend 2021 NCME Conference

Practitioners and researchers advance knowledge and practical applications of classroom assessment

Dr. Lisa Abrams and Dr. Jim McMillan.
Lisa M. Abrams, Ph.D. and James H. McMillan, Ph.D.

Over 300 researchers, higher education faculty, graduate students, school and district leaders, and K-12 teachers gathered virtually last month for the 4th Annual Classroom Assessment Conference of the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME). Participants representing 37 states, the District of Columbia, and 11 countries came together to strengthen the practice and potential of classroom assessment, shape classroom assessment research needed to address current challenges faced by educators, and explore how unique contexts affect assessment policy and practices.

The conference was co-hosted by schools of education at the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, William & Mary, and George Mason University. Faculty from these institutions – including the VCU School of Education’s Lisa M. Abrams, Ph.D., associate professor and interim department chair of the Department of Foundations of Education; and Distinguished Career Professor and Professor Emeritus James H. McMillan, Ph.D. – led the transition of the conference this year to a fully synchronous virtual conference in response to the pandemic.

“This conference provided opportunities for assessment researchers and K-12 practitioners to have meaningful conversations about contemporary views regarding assessment and how assessment strategies can support effective instructional practice, student learning, and inclusive classroom environments,” said Abrams. “Attendees came away with new ideas for how to assess student learning and greater clarity about future research directions for assessment.”

Over two days, conference participants engaged with one another across 33 unique presentations, including keynote addresses, symposia, panel discussions, individual paper sessions, and poster presentations. Topics included assessment literacy, equity-focused assessment, formative assessment, socio-cultural approaches to classroom assessment, connections between classroom assessment and state summative assessment.

“Four Virginia universities showcased for a national/international audience how collaboration among researchers and practitioners can advance classroom assessment that improves student learning,” said McMillan.

NCME is a professional organization for individuals involved in assessment, evaluation, testing, and other aspects of educational measurement who work together to advance theory and applications of educational measurement to benefit society.