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Report finds significant gender and racial inequities in the educational measurement profession

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Gender and racially based employment disparities, differences in perceptions of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and workplace discrimination remain significant issues in the field of educational measurement, according to a new report.

Educational measurement professionals who work at universities, thinktanks, and other are on the cutting edge of designing methods and techniques used to measure learning and other educational outcomes.

The report was authored by Thao Vo (Washington State University), Susan Lyons (Women in Measurement, WIM), Felice J. Levine (AERA), Nathan E. Bell (American Educational Research Association, AERA), and Ye Tong (NBME). Among the major findings of the study of 1,312 individuals who are members of AERA's Division D—Measurement and Research Methodologies, National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), and WIM:

  • There are significant differences in salary and professional rank across gender and , with white men reporting higher salary ranges and occupying more senior positions compared to their counterparts from other gender and racial groups.
  • Professionals from different gender and racial groups are experiencing DEI issues differently, with women of color consistently reporting the lowest perception of organizational DEI effectiveness.
  • Nearly 13% of respondents reported experiencing discrimination within the last 12 months that hindered their professional growth, with women of color being the most affected group. The overwhelming majority of these instances were reportedly unaddressed.

"With an increasingly diverse student population, it is important the field of educational measurement is attuned to and reflects that diversity," said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. "Creating a more just and equitable profession will ensure that what is being measured and how it is being measured fully captures the full range of experiences across groups of students."

"This important work shines a spotlight on the community of professionals working in educational measurement and the employers who recruit and develop them and benefit from their work," said NCME President Michael Walker. "Employers and organizations need to take significant steps toward creating more equitable and inclusive workplaces."

Susan Lyons, co-founder and executive director of WIM, highlighted the need to take action. "Our findings serve as a call of action for ongoing commitment and tangible change, emphasizing the importance of understanding and addressing the unique challenges faced by underrepresented groups in educational measurement. We urge employers to take proactive steps to further support and advance DEI and antidiscrimination efforts in the educational measurement profession."

The report provides five actionable recommendations for employers across all institutional and organizational settings to enhance DEI in the workplace.

  1. Employers should publicly evaluate, acknowledge, and commit to a plan for increasing diversity representation.
  2. Employers should conduct thorough pay equity audits and make necessary corrections so employers can ensure that their employees are compensated fairly regardless of , race, or ethnicity.
  3. Employers should invest in antibias and antidiscrimination training to foster a work culture where employees understand their conscious, subconscious, and unconscious biases.
  4. Employers should focus on transparently communicating how policies are evaluated and enacted, including providing employees with a clear understanding of the decision-making process and the rationale behind policy changes.
  5. To effectively gauge the impact of DEI policies and initiatives, employers should invest in gathering regular feedback from employees.

More information: Thao Vo et al, State of the Field: Gender and Racial Equity in Educational Measurement, (2024). DOI: 10.3102/aera20241

Provided by American Educational Research Association

Citation: Report finds significant gender and racial inequities in the educational measurement profession (2024, April 15) retrieved 28 May 2024 from
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