Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation

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 About us

The Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation

With the explosive growth of the Internet and the resultant increased use of information, ERIC, as a system, is now widely recognized as the central source in the education and social science fields. Our small staff of professionals, contracted abstractors at the Cygnus Corporation and several student workers have worked to make ERIC/AE viewed as the central source for assessment and evaluation information. We have created numerous partnerships for the electronic dissemination of information, created active web pages, established a listserv and participate in several others, created pathfinders to help patrons locate information within our scope, created an on-line journal, created an extensive full-text library, and have given several well attended workshops on assessment and internet resources.

We believe this increased visibility and service to the broad education community has aided us in our acquisition efforts. Conference coordinators are more willing to work with us to get their materials into the ERIC System. The ERIC Reproduction Release Form now appears in a number of conference programs. Several organizations are now acquiring documents for us. In 1999, we acquired over 2000 documents for consideration for inclusion in Resources in Education. We transferred more documents to other clearinghouses than all the other clearinghouses combined. We are also active in ERIC database building. We annually submit approximately 800 documents for inclusion in Resources in Education database and another 800 for the Current Index to Journals in Education.

Our Vision for ERIC/AE

At one time ERIC?s primary audience was researchers. ERIC/AE was the natural primary conduit for that audience, as ERIC/AE traditionally gathers the papers presented by educational researchers and prepares information products addressing research and measurement methodology. With the change of patron base, ERIC/AE has undergone a series of programmatic changes in order to be responsive to their needs. In the past, our Digests mostly addressed methodological issues; now, they are more practitioner oriented. In the past, our acquisition activities primarily targeted methodological papers; now, they target reports produced by local and state education agencies. In the past, our implicit mission was to facilitate the advancement of theory; now it is clearly to facilitate the advancement of practice. People now come to ERIC/AE looking for ideas, suggestions, and resources to help with real school-based problems. And they are coming in enormous numbers. This has radically changed our thinking and our approach. We now see the need for ERIC/AE to become a major pro-active disseminator of information. This means:

  • an even greater emphasis on services,
  • more focused and aggressive acquisitions,
  • more patron and issue driven products,
  • a wider range of services and products,
  • an even greater efficiency in daily operations.

This is a new level of information service for ERIC/AE. Six years ago we argued that

Educators concerned with assessment and evaluation should frequently encounter ERIC/AE products without looking and uncover a goldmine when looking. In establishing our web-site, we posted a refinement: The Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation seeks to provide 1) balanced information concerning educational assessment and 2) resources to encourage responsible test use. 

We achieved these goals. And we are very proud of that accomplishment. It was right for the time; it was right for the patron base.

Our new goal goes one step further. Uncovering a goldmine can be as frustrating as not finding anything. With a goldmine, one needs to sort through lots of material to find the truly relevant and best material. While researching the goldmine is usually of interest to researchers, the practitioner just wants to solve the problem at hand. The practitioner is not interested in being comprehensive; they just want to know the best resource. If the best is not readily apparent, then unfortunately, the first "good enough" resource will do. We see this all the time on the internet. Patrons rarely scroll through pages of hits. Our carefully crafted and extremely effective "more like this" option is never used. When we ask patrons about their search strategies, we are consistently told that they rapidly found what they wanted. They don?t need to explore. When we asked a large sample of ERIC/AE patrons whether they want us to suggest the best and most relevant resources, the response was a resounding "yes". 

Thus our goals for the current five year award are to

1) to provide balanced information concerning educational assessment,
2) provide resources to encourage responsible test use, and
3) promote the best resources within our scope.

In many ways, we have already been pursuing the new, third goal. Our FAQs and our reference responses identify and promote the best available resources. The new, third goal, however, means we need to reshape some of our activities. We need to aggressively acquire the best resources, establish mechanisms for reviewing our recommendations, expand and re-organize our already extensive on-line materials, and create new products and product lines. We envision:

  • involving internal and external advisors in reviewing our recommendations
  • expanding acquisitions to obtain more books and more practitioner materials
  • creating a series of FAQs which identify exemplary resources
  • highlighting specific resources when providing reference services
  • creating a range of issues-oriented high quality Digests, major publications and other products
  • establishing an on-line refereed journal addressing practitioner issues
  • identifying and posting quality, public-domain assessment instruments
  • redesigning and supporting the Test Locator
  • creating and maintaining a web page which focuses on exemplary resources
  • increased annotation of related web resources
  • seeking outside funds to perform high-level information science research
  • establishing an on-line book store with recommended titles

About Olivia Biggs

A California native, Olivia Biggs was born in San Diego and is currently living and working in Oakland. She graduated from college in 2005 with a double major in English and Education. For the past five years, she has been teaching English, and has been an inspiration for students to start reading more through the monthly book club that she established. As an avid reader herself, Olivia works to “reawaken the spirit of reading.”

When Olivia isn't working to change lives in the classroom, she can usually be found in her kitchen cooking various tasty dishes, as she loves to host dinner parties for both family and friends. She's also very active and spends time jogging in sunny California, swimming, rock climbing, and more.

Even with such a busy life, Olivia always makes sure to find time for her favorite hobby – reading. If asked what her five favorite books were, she would say The Bell Jar, Housekeeping, The Giver, Heart of Darkness, and anything from The Game of Thrones series. Not only that, but she could talk about books, reading, and education for hours.

Want to contact us?

Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation 
e-mail feedback3@ericae.net

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