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College Board Snags Chief of Federal Education Research Center

In the College Board's push to revamp its products to reflect the common core, and to compete with ACT Inc., it has recruited a prominent new ally: Jack Buckley, the commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics.

Education Week has learned that Buckley informed his staff that he is leaving the federal agency in January to join the College Board as the senior vice president for research. The College Board confirmed the move, but was unable to provide more details just yet.

UPDATED: In his new role, Buckley's areas of focus will include "long term strategic planning for research and expanding College Board's strategic research partnerships," according to College Board spokeswoman Carly Lindauer. He will supervise one vice president who oversees psychometrics and statistical analysis and another who oversees validity and efficacy research.

Buckley shares thoughts about his new role at College Board over at the Inside School Research blog, where my colleague Sarah Sparks also reports on the search for a new NCES commissioner.

The College Board has been aggressively expanding its presence on the landscape of college-readiness and college-admissions testing. As we reported to you earlier this year, the New York City-based organization is reworking the SAT and the PSAT to reflect the common core, a move some interpreted as competitive—at least at the middle and high school level—with the two federally funded assessment consortia, PARCC and Smarter Balanced.

It's also ramped up its competition with ACT Inc., hiring away some of its key staffers. But in that mix, a longtime, respected College Board staffer went the opposite direction: Wayne Camara, its head of research, joined ACT. The snagging of Buckley would bring a major figure in education research back into that space.

No details yet, however, on how Buckley's new job matches up to Camara's old one. We'll report more when we get it.

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