Measurement Incorporated strives to build a highly reputable but modest public profile. Our goal is to uphold our reputation as a leader in the educational testing industry and remain an outstanding corporate citizen. We are continuously searching news publications to post the latest stories relating to our work, our community, and our industry. You are invited to check back frequently to stay current with what’s happening at MI.
Kids Discover the Power of Their Votes
August 3, 2017
Kids Voting is a nonpartisan organization in Durham, NC that works to involve young people in the voting process. One way they do that is by setting up an authentic voting experience in classrooms in which students vote for the same candidates and issues as adults on election day. Through this participation kids gain an understanding and appreciation of the voting process and begin to understand the power of their own vote.
Behind the scenes MI partners with Kids Voting by design the ballots and providing a scanner to count the ballots. Over the course of 19 elections we’ve tabulated over 150,000 student ballots. MI is proud to support Kids Voting!
Measurement Incorporated Announces Office Relocation, Expansion
DURHAM, NC – November 2, 2016 – Measurement Incorporated® (MI®) recently announced its return to office space in Durham’s Northgate Mall in Suite 235. The additional work space signals growth and expansion for the educational assessment firm founded in Durham more than 30 years ago.
The new 20,750 square foot location adjoins the first floor of Sears and provides ample room for a team of employees focused on reading and scoring written portions of educational and corporate assessments. The new space also comes with abundant parking and interior and exterior mall entrances.
Previously, in 1981, MI inhabited 12,000 square feet of office space in Northgate’s lower level center for over 15 years, so this move signals a return to old stomping grounds and serves to bring new business and traffic into the mall.
“We are excited to return to Northgate and move into our new environment,” says Bryan Scherich, Facilities Director for Measurement Incorporated, the department of the company responsible for the logistics of the move. “We’ve had a great relationship with Northgate over the years and we’re happy we found a place we can expand as our company grows.”
“Northgate is thrilled to welcome Measurement Incorporated back bringing nearly 400 employees on site—leasing a significant amount of space for office use is part of our strategy to convert portions of our retail space to different types of uses. This partnership is an example of how Northgate is solidifying our goal to work with more independent and locally-owned business,” added Ginny Bowman, Northgate Managing Partner.
MI expects to take up residency in their new office space in December 2016. Learn more about MI’s growth and its rich history in Durham here.
Northgate Mall is located at 1058 West Club Boulevard, Durham.
About Measurement Incorporated
Headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, Measurement Incorporated has been the industry leader in educational assessment since its founding in 1980. The privately held company provides a wide range of educational and testing services and specializes in the development, scoring and reporting of large-scale educational tests. MI has appeared year after year on the NC100, a list of the top 100 private companies in North Carolina. To learn more about Measurement Incorporated visit measurementinc.com.
Why Your Students Should Write More in 2017
Welcome to 2017! It's customary around this time of year for many people to make resolutions for the year to come. They resolve to lose the weight, take up a hobby, finish that project that's been gathering dust in the corner, or learn a new skill. In light of these goals, we say, why not learn to write?
For most people, writing seems like a chore. Most students equate it to turning in a classroom assignment, which can seem overwhelming or boring to most, leading to frustration or anxiety in some cases. But making a resolution to develop your students' writing skills can have impacts on their lives that you may not realize.
First and foremost, writing every day has great health benefits! It can help people gather their thoughts to start the day, manage stress at the end of the day, or just help with tracking of food intake, exercise, or sleep patterns. Some writers even report that writing helps them manage depression and anxiety. The best part about writing for personal growth is that these journal entries aren't for public consumption, so there's no need to worry about the presentation of the writing. Without that pressure, writers can experiment with their entries, include doodles and sketches (which also have benefits of their own), and find what works for them.
Not only is writing good for your health, it's also good for your career. Students who are trying to manage the academic and social demands of school may not be considering this aspect of better writing skills, but now is the time for them to start. Writing clearly and concisely helps you communicate with colleagues and creates a sense of credibility in the reader, who won't be distracted by misspellings or unclear language. In fact, some of the most successful business leaders are writers. In the professional world, many first impressions are made in written form: job applications, cover letters, email introductions, and sales pitches are just a few of the ways in which we introduce ourselves through our writing.
Some students may be nervous or reluctant to start writing more. But there are ways to make it easier to incorporate into every day life. Here are our tips for encouraging your students to write more in 2017:
Start small. Encourage students to start with easy goals at first, so they don't get overwhelmed with the idea of having to write every day. Let them focus on what works for them. Do they like journal writing in the morning as a way to focus on the rest of their day? Or would they prefer to write at night to share details of their days and make notes for the days ahead. The act of writing at night can ease stress at the end of the day and help students get better sleep. Just remember, there are no rules.
Get feedback. As we mentioned before, journal entries aren't necessarily for public consumption. But if students are writing cover letters or personal essays, make sure they understand that feedback from teachers, friends, and family can improve writing. During a peer review process, students can get insight into the clarity of their work. Maybe they thought they explained something really well, but it doesn't translate to the reader. When these needs are identified before a final piece, it can make a world of difference in the final result.
Read. Reading is shown to improve focus, concentration, and imagination, all of which can contribute to better writing. Books can also be used as mentor texts to gather ideas and learn different writing techniques that can be incorporated into your students' writing.
Don't give up. It can be frustrating when students receive harsher feedback than they expected or when they are struggling with writer's block. But writing takes time and practice. It's a skill that must develop just like anything else. Tell students to go easy on themselves and remind them that the more they write, the easier it will become!
The Success of Formative Assessment in the Classroom
Ann Hayes, Ph.D.
What is Formative Assessment?
Formative assessment has been around for decades in various programs and practices. Benjamin Bloom, so well-known for his Taxonomy of Learning Domains, emphasized the need for instructional differentiation that matched the needs of each student. Based on his landmark study of how tutors worked with students, he maintained that adding more time for those who needed it as well as re-teaching would allow all students to be successful and that assessments should be used to give students feedback and to serve as guides for correction (Bloom, 1968). According to a policy brief on formative assessment published by the National Council of Teachers of English (2010), excellent formative assessment emphasizes the quality of student work instead of the quantity; coaching and encouragement for improvement rather than grades; student-instructor dialogue as opposed to lectures; and as many chances for success as necessary, concentrating on a few increments of understanding at a time.
Many educational researchers in the field today prefer the term assessment FOR learning, to clearly differentiate it from summative assessment, or assessment OF learning (Black, Harrison, Lee, Marshall, & Wiliam, 2004; Stiggins, 2004). The term assessment for learning clearly indicates the crucial role assessment should have in learning. Students are assessed as they learn so that instructors and students know what comes next – more practice, instructional intervention, or moving on to the next concept (Black & Wiliam, 1998).
What Does Formative Assessment Look Like in the Classroom?
Many types of formative assessment happen naturally in the classroom, as instructors give specific, timely feedback to students on their learning and then work to strengthen understanding of concepts. They do this when they ask for exit tickets or when they ask for a quick “thumbs up” check for understanding. They do this when they coach a student through a project or scrap an entire lesson plan because students are “not getting it.” Formative assessment does not result in a grade in the grade book. Formative assessment guides both instructors and students in making decisions during learning about what additional learning needs to take place.
There are also more formal methods of formative assessment. PEG Writing Scholar® is one of these methods.
How Does PEG Writing Fit In?
PEG Writing is a tool that allows students to practice writing in a low-stakes environment and receive timely feedback on their efforts as they practice. PEG Writing offers several forms of feedback to the student writer. First, it provides in-text conventions and sentence structure feedback. Students receive scores for each of the Six Traits of Writing, so that they can see which areas need improvement. They may also receive targeted feedback on one or more traits. A lesson may be suggested to help with improvement in a specific trait. It's also a great way for students to polish their writing on their own, without teacher input.
Outside of the automated feedback, instructors also can leave “sticky notes” and messages for students to give them suggestions or corrections on which students should focus. There is also a place for instructors to score content accuracy and textual evidence, which are not automatically scored by the PEG Writing system.
Using PEG Writing should be a partnership among the student, instructor, and program. The goal in using PEG Writing is not to earn a specific overall score, but to improve on each trait using the feedback and suggestions from both the program and the instructor.
It is important to note that while PEG Writing is an excellent tool for student writing practice, it is merely one tool in a instructor's toolbox for teaching writing. Just as a contractor cannot build a house with only a hammer, instructors cannot teach writing solely with PEG Writing. Used in conjunction with a writing program that includes instructor modeling, instruction, and assessment, PEG Writing can help students increase their writing skills and confidence.
To learn more about PEG Writing and formative assessment in the classroom, contact us today.
Bloom, B. S. (1968) Learning for mastery. Evaluation Comment, 1(2), pp. 1-12. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED053419.pdf
Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box. The Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-148.
Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., & Wiliam, D. (2004). Working inside the black box: Assessment for learning in the classroom. The Phi Delta Kappan, 86(1), 9.
National Council of Teachers of English (2010). Fostering high-quality formative assessment: a policy research brief. Council Chronicle, (20)1, 12-14.
Stiggins, R. (2004). New assessment beliefs for a new school mission. The Phi Delta Kappan, 86(1), 22-27.
The Changing Landscape of Writing in the Classroom
Have you had a chance to read the recent report from Education Week? If not, you should! Next Draft: Changing Practices in Writing Instruction examines how writing instruction has changed over time. There are great insights from teachers, including one instructor’s unexpected incorporation of hip hop into her curriculum and another’s defense of writing in the math classroom.
While the push for more writing has been successful in some classrooms, the increased focus on writing more often and across curricula has presented its own set of challenges. Some teachers whose subjects haven’t previously incorporated much writing feel unprepared to provide solid, constructive feedback to their students. Other teachers wonder how they’ll have time to grade more essays. Luckily, challenges like these can be tackled head-on with programs like PEG Writing.
Let’s face it – not all teachers feel equipped to give students writing feedback. As a result, we’ve focused on developing a tool that can fill in some of those gaps.
PEG Writing returns instant, automatic feedback on every essay a student submits so teachers can focus on textual evidence or content accuracy, while the program helps with the mechanics of writing. When the entirety of this feedback is presented to students, they have a complete picture of how to improve their work with every draft.
PEG Writing can also relieve some of the burden of a teacher’s workload. Throughout the school year, there are endless demands on teachers’ time. In the case of writing, adding extra assignments for students also means finding the extra time as a teacher to provide timely evaluation for continued growth. This is where PEG Writing, as a tireless teaching assistant, can again come to the rescue! The instant feedback allows students to write several drafts before ever turning their work in to their teachers. Peer Review opens up even more opportunity for students to get quick feedback from their classmates. Lessons, which are categorized by skill level and writing trait, are recommended in each score report, so student writers know what to focus on to increase their scores. Best of all, all of this is available both in and out of the classroom. All you or your students need is an Internet connection and your log-on credentials!
PEG Writing isn’t the answer for everything. It won’t magically attend staff meetings or prepare your lunch for you, but it can provide the instructional support and flexibility needed to assist in the demands of the new world of writing.