International Education Assessments: Cautions, Conundrums, and Common Sense
Report Release and Panel Discussion
National Academy of Sciences 2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC April 6, 2018: 9 a.m. -12 p.m.

Results from international large-scale assessments (ILSAs) garner considerable attention in the media, academia, and among policy makers. Although there is widespread recognition that ILSAs can provide useful information, there is debate about what types of comparisons are the most meaningful and what could be done to assure more sound interpretations. To address these issues, the National Academy of Education (NAEd) assembled a Steering Committee to examine the future of ILSAs from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The committee held two workshops, commissioned a series of papers, and has produced a summary report.

The first workshop focused on the somewhat more technical methodological issues related to the design, analysis, and reporting of ILSAs. The second workshop moved into the less technical aspects of reporting, as well as interpretation, and policy uses of ILSAs. Commissioned papers, presentations, a videocast, and the summary report are available for viewing below.


Commissioned Papers on

International Large-Scale Assessments (ILSAs)

A Look at the Most Pressing Design Issues in International Large-Scale Assessments

Leslie Rutkowski
Centre for Educational Measurement,
University of Oslo, Norway

Education Journalism

Nicholas Lemann
Columbia Journalism School, 
Columbia University

Questionnaire Development and Design for International Large-Scale Assessments (ILSAs): Current Practice, Challenges, and Recommendations

Nina Jude and Susanne Kuger
Educational Quality and Evaluation
The German Institute for International Educational Research

Workshop Agendas, Linked Presentations, & Recordings


  • Judith Singer (Chair)
    Harvard University
  • Henry Braun
    Boston College
  • Anna Chmielewski
    University of Toronto
  • Richard Durán
    University of California, Santa Barbara
  • David Kaplan
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Marshall “Mike” Smith
    Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching
  • Judith Torney-Purta
    University of Maryland


Gregory White, Executive Director

The project and research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305U150003 to the National Academy of Education. The opinions expressed are those of the NAEd and authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

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