Our Mission: To increase the effectiveness of instructional staff and administrators through specialized data collection and analysis, as well as consulting in research, assessment, and evaluation – technical, practical, and policy-related. We are dedicated to the success of our clients and the students they serve.
To Educators in Kansas:
During the pre-Waiver days of NCLB, as members of the Kansas Assessment Advisory Council, we successfully led several initiatives to improve the assessment and accountability system in Kansas. Our efforts led KSDE to do the following:
- add 99% confidence intervals to AYP decisions and 75% confidence intervals to Safe Harbor determinations
- return control of reclassifying students in excess of the 1% and 2% caps on modified and alternate proficiency to district personnel
- loosen the eligibility criteria and administration procedures for the read-aloud accommodation
- drop the Text Structure indicator from the elementary-level reading assessments because it was shown to be developmentally inappropriate
- postpone mandatory implementation of computer-based test administration until all districts were ready to make the transition.
These victories enabled KSDE to render more accurate and trustworthy assessment information and accountability decisions. KSDE even used the AYP, Safe Harbor, and reclassification calculators that we had developed in Excel for assessment coordinators in our schools, distributing them to other districts in the state. These calculators are available for review on the Work Samples page of this website.
Because of our efforts, many Kansas schools and districts were spared from unjustly or erroneously missing their AYP targets and being wrongfully forced to enter “On Improvement” status. In turn, many districts across the state saved millions of dollars that they otherwise would have been forced to spend on AYP sanctions such as school choice, supplemental services, and school reconstitution plans. Most importantly, these victories show that KSDE responds not only to Federal carrots and sticks but also to well-formulated and empirically supported encouragement from the districts.
We now have entered a new era of Common Core Standards, SBAC and PARCC assessment consortia, and NCLB Flexibility Waivers until ESEA is reauthorized. So, the struggle for technical excellence and equitable treatment begins anew.
We are here and ready to help.
Stephen Court has more than 30 years of experience in large-scale educational testing and accountability. His areas of expertise include the design, construction, and conduct of large-scale assessment and accountability programs; the analysis, interpretation, reporting, and use of research, assessment, and evaluation data; the presentation of on-site and on-line professional development; and the management and budgeting of corporate and public-sector departments
He was a founding partner of Advanced Systems (now Measured Progress), a project manager at The Psychological Corporation, an independent consultant and contractor, and the director of research, assessment, and evaluation at the Wichita Public Schools.
Stephen has conducted many complex studies and projects, including ones related to appraising the instructional sensitivity of accountability tests, the efficacy of sterile vs. enriched testing environments, and the comparability of computer-based vs. paper-and-pencil test delivery modes. He has contributed to all phases of several district-level and statewide asssessents, as well as to a broad range of research studies, program evaluations, and professional development projects. He has presented findings on numerous occasions at AERA and CCSSO, as well as at other venues, including AEA-Europe.
Stephen earned his M. Ed from Boston College, and he is A.B.D. from the Educational Measurement and Statistics program at the University of Iowa.
Dan Wright served the Kansas City, KS Public Schools, an urban district of 20,000 students, from 1992-2012; first as a school psychologist, then as research/testing specialist, and finally as Director of Research and Assessment. His interests at this time turned toward large-scale assessments, accountability systems, and program evaluation. From its inception, he served as a member of the Kansas Assessment Advisory Council. During his tenure with Kansas City, he has had the opportunity to undertake evaluation of numerous programs and interventions, such as summer school programs, full day kindergarten programs, and after school tutoring delivered as NCLB Supplemental Educational Services.
Earlier in his career, Dan served as a school psychologist for a small, suburban school district (3,000 students) near Omaha, NE. During that time his inquiries into the properties of individual assessment measures yielded over twenty publications in psychology and assessment journals, dealing with the validity of various instruments and their utility in making diagnostic and treatment decisions. These earned invitations to provide peer reviews for manuscripts submitted to Journal of School Psychology and School Psychology Review. Dan also contributed test reviews to three editions of the Mental Measurements Yearbook, presented papers at several national psychology conferences, and served on task forces for APA and NASP.
Dan earned his undergraduate degree in Special Education from what is now Truman State University in Missouri (1973). He completed a Master’s in Educational Psychology (1976) and a Doctorate in School Psychology (1984) at the University of Nebraska. Although not seeking another credential, Dan has steadily attended workshops presented by The Evaluators’ Institute, an affiliate of George Washington University, for independent study.