Rhode Island Schools Chief Named to National Assessment Governing Board, Overseeing The Nation’s Report Card

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Rhode Island Schools Chief Named to National Assessment Governing Board, Overseeing The Nation’s Report Card

February 19, 2016

Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., announced today that longtime educator Ken Wagner – currently the Rhode Island commissioner for elementary and secondary education – has been named to the National Assessment Governing Board.

“Ken is a dedicated, innovative, and forward-thinking leader and educator,” Acting Secretary King said. “We look forward to utilizing his incredible talent and expertise in our work to ensure students are prepared to succeed in college, careers and life.”

Wagner, appointed in the category of “chief state school officer,” will help set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation's Report Card. NAEP makes objective information on student performance available to policymakers and the public at the national, state and local levels in nearly a dozen subjects.  Since 1969, NAEP has served an important role in evaluating the condition and progress of American education. The 26-member Governing Board – a group of governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators and researchers, business representatives and members of the general public – determines subjects and content to be tested, sets the achievement levels for reporting and releases the results to the public.

Before he was appointed as Rhode Island’s education commissioner in July 2015, Wagner served six years with the New York State Education Department in a variety of roles, including as senior deputy commissioner for education policy; associate commissioner for curriculum, assessment, and educational technology; and assistant commissioner for data systems.

Previously, he worked in several New York state school districts as a middle school principal, assistant principal, and school psychologist. Wagner earned a Ph.D. in school and clinical psychology from Hofstra University.  His appointment to the Governing Board extends through Sept. 30, 2019.

Wagner takes office as the Governing Board is involved in several initiatives and major activities, including the first-ever Technology and Engineering Literacy assessment with results that will be released this spring.  NAEP will move to computer-based assessments by 2017, and a comprehensive plan is in the works to expand outreach efforts and partnerships to better inform audiences nationwide about NAEP resources and data.

The National Assessment Governing Board is an independent, bipartisan board whose members include governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators, business representatives, and members of the general public. Congress created the 26-member Governing Board in 1988 to oversee and set policy for NAEP.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the only nationally representative, continuing evaluation of the condition of education in the United States. It has served as a national yardstick of student achievement since 1969. Through The Nation's Report Card, NAEP informs the public about what America's students know and can do in various subject areas, and compares achievement between states, large urban districts, and various student demographic groups.