By Kevin Mahnken
ETS, which administers the widely used GRE, PRAXIS, and TOEIC tests, has itself announced multiple rounds of layoffs during and after the pandemic.
Perhaps the biggest question hanging over the newly announced partnership is the proposed measurement of not just cognitive and behavioral skills — including everything from comprehension of math content to teamwork and leadership — but so-called “affective” skills as well. As described by ETS head Amit Sevak at the educational technology conference ASU-GSV, such skills could include something like emotional intelligence, or the ability to successfully convey sincerity and empathy to others. Just how those kinds of competencies can be conveyed to students, let alone measured by third parties, is debatable even to backers of competency-based instruction.
Michael Horn, a cofounder of Harvard’s Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Education, said he would be watching the development of such measures carefully.
“This part, from my reading of the literature on assessment, is both unproven and underdeveloped. So the how is going to be very important,” Horn said. “I’m going to be very curious to see what the investments look like as they go forward, and I hope they don’t overpromise.”