In 2017, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and Educational Testing Service (ETS) celebrated 10 years since joining forces to form the IEA-ETS Research Institute (IERI, www.ierinstitute.org). July 2018 marks another important anniversary in our mutual goal to nurture and promote improved research into the science of large-scale assessments in education.
IERI is devoted to building understanding and research capacity around the world. From the beginning, a vital component of this joint venture has been to help disseminate best practices and state-of-the-art information about empirical research into the science of large-scale assessments, and to make the results freely available to policymakers and researchers around the world. Between 2008 and 2012, IERI sponsored a peer-reviewed monograph series (see http://www.ierinstitute.org/dissemination-area.html), and five years ago the monograph series morphed into what we now know as the IERI journal, Large-Scale Assessments in Education.
A broad range of topics
Since its inception, the Journal has garnered article submissions on a variety of topics related to large-scale assessments from all corners of the globe. Articles have examined the evidence on gender differences, educational skills and qualifications, among many other topics, as well as tackling the technical aspects of sampling and analysis. We invite you to browse some of the published articles to get a broader idea of the topics covered in the journal.
To give readers a few examples, one of the most visited article pages is The relationship between students’ use of ICT for social communication and their computer and information literacy by Meral Alkan and Sabine Meinck (2016, refer also to the recent SpringerOpen Blog post). This analysis shows that, irrespective of gender and socioeconomic background, students who use social media more often have better information technology literacy abilities.
Gender equality in educational opportunities
One of the six key educational goals set by UNESCO is to achieve gender equality in educational opportunities by 2030. Articles such as Gender differences in variability and extreme scores in an international context by Ariane Baye and Christian Monseur (2016) use large-scale assessment data to establish baselines for future targets, while questioning the role of education, and in particular the role of the school in maintaining gender inequalities. Educational qualifications and literacy skills are highly related, and Degrees of competency: the relationship between educational qualifications and adult skills across countries by Natascha Massing and Silke L. Schneider (2017) was one article examining a recent international study of adult learning skills in greater depth. They concluded that international measures of education levels must be harmonized in a substantively more meaningful way for future adult literacy surveys, especially since adults tend to pass on their competencies to their children in most, if not all countries.
Technical challenges in large-scale assessment
We are proud that we publish a very wide spectrum of articles, from the more content-oriented articles to those dealing with technical challenges and their potential solutions in large-scale assessment. Here we highlight two articles. One, Multiple imputation using chained equations for missing data in TIMSS: a case study by Donia Smaali Bouhlila and Fethi Sellaouti (2013) presented a way to tackle missing data in large-scale assessment, while Causal inference with large-scale assessments in education from a Bayesian perspective: a review and synthesis by David Kaplan (2016) outlined recent research into analyzing large-scale assessment data using Bayesian theory. Both these articles open new avenues for researchers, by suggesting novel approaches to analyzing the existing, publicly-available data.
New Software Articles
The journal continues to grow and evolve in response to the needs of our audience. This year, we expanded the editorial team and launched a dedicated “software corner”. Software articles are intended for software developers and advanced analysts who have developed innovative models or useful ways of implementing existing methods to analyze large-scale assessment data. All this supports continued improvement in the field and better understanding of the potential of the wealth of data available.
The benefits of open access
Open access was always a critical aspect of our vision. As we have already noted, IERI’s mission is to make research available to anyone interested in large-scale assessments in education, from researchers and students attempting to find resources outside of their library’s collections, to educational NGOs struggling to pay for expensive journal subscriptions, to policymakers, parents, educators and journalists seeking expert opinion on which they can rely. Our open-access journal allows authors to retain the copyright of their articles, leaving them free to reproduce and disseminate their work, and there are no article processing charges. This is especially important when promoting the dissemination of best research practices internationally and enables us to support researchers in regions where funding research into education and building the appropriate research capacities can be challenging.
We hope that the journal continues to thrive and grow, and that readers will find the articles we publish as interesting as we do.
A video about IERI’s 10th anniversary can be found here:
The IEA YouTube channel can be found here.
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