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ACT, SAT Compete for Business, and Top Staff

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By Catherine Gewertz

The assessment world is on the move, and not only when it comes to designing new tests for the common standards. People are moving. Like packing up their stuff and moving from one big testing house to another. The latest news comes from ACT Inc., which announced today that it has recruited the College Board's top researcher.

ACT, best known for its eponymous college-entrance exam, said that Wayne Camara will become senior vice president for research, leading its "expanded research agenda across the kindergarten through career continuum." It did not immediately explain what role, if any, Camara will play in its new Aspire assessment system, which is seen in some quarters as a competitive undertaking to the work of two federally funded state consortia that are designing tests for the common standards.

But Camara's move comes in the wake of a stepped-up presence in the common-assessment landscape by his soon-to-be-former employer, the College Board, which has recently hired away a number of folks from ACT in its bid to offer a suite of tests for the common core at the middle and high school levels.

Camara, a widely respected voice in the assessment community, shepherded development of—and research for—the SAT and Advanced Placement programs, among other things, as vice president of research and development at the College Board.

Also new at ACT will be Richard Patz, an assessment-industry veteran who spent 17 years at CTB/McGraw-Hill, including a recent stint as vice president of engineering, research, and development. As chief measurement officer, Patz will oversee all research, development, and validation for ACT's programs and services.

ACT appears to be building new connections between its education and workforce divisions. It announced today, also, that Jon Erickson, who has been president of ACT's education division, will now oversee its workforce division as well.

Another sign of the new education-workforce connections: Camara occupies a newly created position overseeing research and policy work not only in K-12 and higher education, but in its career-oriented programs (think WorkKeys, among other things) as well.

In a statement about his transition, Camara saluted his new employer.

"No organization is more responsible for the current focus on the urgency of preparing students for college and career readiness than ACT," he said. "In many ways, the focus on college- and career-readiness standards, empirical benchmarks, and measuring student growth in terms of these outcomes can be traced to seminal research conducted by ACT. I am extremely excited about the opportunity to join this team and contribute to its important work."

Originally posted on the Curriculum Matters blog.

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