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  • Dr. Edmund W. Gordon Battles to Eradicate Achievement Gap - Higher Education

    http://diverseeducation.com/article/49346/[11/16/2012 1:07:02 PM]

    Edmund Gordon with Dr.David Wall Rice

    Dr. Edmund W. Gordon Battles to Eradicate AchievementGap

    by Donovan X. Ramsey

    Before most knew what an achievement gap was, Dr. Edmund W. Gordonwas working to eliminate it. He is regarded as one of the foremost scholarson divergent learning styles and championed supplemental education longbefore it was popular. In fact, Gordon popularized the term. He was also anarchitect of the nations Head Start program in the 1960s. Today, however,at 91, Gordon is still beating the drum of education reform as loud as he didhalf a century ago with a historic commission to get to the bottom ofassessment.

    Every bit of Gordons nine decades is present when he talks to you. Acareful man, he takes slow deliberate pauses between thoughts and dragshis sentences to understanding. His hawk-like eyes dart about under hisbushy gray eyebrows and wisps of gray hair on his balding head to makesure youre paying attention, and in his presence, you cannot help but feel like you should be taking notes.His face exemplifies the nickname many of Gordons former pupils have given him, The Professor.

    Gordon could retire comfortably at his home in upstate New York having established a tremendous legacy.He is the John M. Musser Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Yale University and Richard March HoeProfessor Emeritus of Psychology and Education at Columbia Universitys Teachers College, among manyother distinctions. Hes published 175 articles in scholarly journals and authored or edited at least 15 bookssince his first in 1966. But instead of relaxing in his golden years, for the past two, Gordon has beenleading The Gordon Commission, a study group of noted scholars with the stated goal of exploring whateducation assessment will be, and should become, by 2050. The commissions findings will be made publicnext winter.

    Providing the conceptual leadership for the group has probably been the most challenging intellectualexperience of my life, says Gordon. I sometimes complain that the opportunity came to me at the secondweakest point in my life, second after childhood. Im 91 now and trying to do things I would have muchrather tackled at 60.

    As a nonagenarian, however, Gordon is leading the most comprehensive study of issues within assessmentto date with funding from Education Testing Services, the worlds largest private nonprofit educationaltesting body, an organization responsible for standardized tests including the GRE. Gordon has leveragedhis reputation and ETS support to gather leading minds to parse out issues that have rendered assessmentin the American school system so problematic.

    Members of the Gordon Commission include heavy hitters from around the worlds of education, psychology

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    November 8, 2012 | Category: News,Subfeature | :

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  • Dr. Edmund W. Gordon Battles to Eradicate Achievement Gap - Higher Education

    http://diverseeducation.com/article/49346/[11/16/2012 1:07:02 PM]

    and psychometrics. Leading figures like Dr. Diane Ravitch, Dr. Lauren Resnick and Dr. Claude Steele are afew among the 33 assembled. Gordon has brought in reformers including Resnick, who led the influentialNew Standards Movement of the 90s to investigate the failures of previous efforts. The commission haseven taken their inquiry to the streets, holding public forums to engage stakeholders, educators, parents andstudents around issues in assessment and possible solutions.

    Their mission is to anticipate the future of testing. But beyond that and the commissions strategicengagement is the belief that changing whats tested for will serve to change whats taught and how hopefully leading to better outcomes for students who fall through the cracks of the existing system. In thateffort, the commission has produced studies in emerging areas of assessment science, represented in twodozen white papers.

    One of the things weve been exploring in the commission is the relationship between the affective andsituative domains in relation to the cognitive domains, says Gordon, describing one study. Were beginningto understand that, in human intellectual functions, the affective (or the emotional) and the social situationsin which problems are engaged are as important as the cognitive processes on which we have beenfocused. He says that assessment of the future must reconcile these three sense-making processes andhow academics deal with this dynamic reality in pedagogy