Jan. 20, 2011 – Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), a global educational services organization, today celebrates the official opening of its headquarters in downtown Portland. The big move, which brings more than 300 employees to the former Port of Portland building in the city’s Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood, is designed to accommodate the organization’s current and future growth, and bolster its connection with the local community.
NWEA is a not-for-profit that helps educators and parents achieve real student growth by providing rigorous and accurate assessments, professional development programs and research that work together to inform how students are learning. The organization was founded 34 years ago by a small group of local educators and researchers from Portland Public Schools who shared a vision for using data to achieve better outcomes in the classroom, student by student. NWEA’s kid-centric vision continues to be central to the organization today, and differentiates it from other players in the multi-billion dollar K-12 achievement testing industry.
Adora Svitak, a 13-year-old child literary prodigy who became a published author at age 7, will help NWEA open its new doors when she speaks before an audience of education stakeholders, elected officials, and business and community leaders later today.
“Adora embodies what we at NWEA strive to accomplish every day – helping a child achieve her full potential by embracing each student’s way of learning,” said Matt Chapman, CEO and President of NWEA. “Our kid-centric mission is based on the belief that growth is what matters, not grade level.
Just as kids don’t always color inside the lines, they don’t always grow academically inside a single grade.”
The organization moved from Lake Oswego to its new location in late December. NWEA will join Mercy Corps and the University of Oregon as neighbors, helping to revitalize a neighborhood previously plagued by drugs, crime, and homelessness.
NWEA partners with nearly 5,000 public and private school districts, federal programs, education agencies and innovative education reformers like The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition, Teach for America and KIPP. Nearly 5 million students take NWEA assessments each year. The organization’s signature assessment, Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®), monitors academic growth over time and helps pinpoint instructional needs. MAP is the first computer-adaptive assessment, so test questions increase or decrease in difficulty based on a student’s responses, providing a very detailed map of student achievement. When taken over time, the data yield rich insight into student growth. These data are then translated for educators and parents to assess a student’s true learning growth and potential, rather than just standard proficiency.
The Kingsbury Center, the research arm of NWEA, advances education knowledge and practice through the use of student assessment data. The Center helps inform education policy makers through its research and advises on a wide-range of educational issues, including the achievement gap.
“We believe it’s time to redirect assessment time toward the kinds of assessments that actually help teachers do their jobs,” says Chapman. “Here in Oregon, we have begun the important work that empowers educators to measure students regardless of their actual grade level so we focus on what kids really need to learn in the classroom.”
NWEA is a global not-for-profit educational services organization with home offices in Portland, Oregon. We partner with educational organizations worldwide to provide computer-based assessment suites, professional development, and research services. We are passionate about our mission: Partnering to help all kids learn. Our Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) adaptive assessments leverage over 30 years of research into student growth and yield unparalleled data that informs decision-making at every level, from classroom to boardroom. We continue to expand curriculum, instruction, and assessment offerings all in a unified system with our vertical scale providing stability and alignment throughout. Our professional development offerings help educators use data to transform outcomes. The Kingsbury Center at NWEA, our research arm, uses our Growth Research Database to drive original research with universities, foundations and policy makers.
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