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CSSO Policy Task Force

CSSO Policy Task Force


As part of the Board's effort to expand involvement and input from state education leaders, the Governing Board partnered with Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to create a Task Force in September 2007. This Board-funded Task Force is charged with providing state feedback and recommendations to the National Assessment Governing Board on policy areas and projects related to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

The Task Force is comprised of 12 high-level state education agency staff members including one chief state school officer, eight members who are either deputy or assistant superintendents, and three public information officers. This wide cross section of perspectives vested in education has shaped careful and extensive deliberations on many NAEP policy areas.

Task Force members are chosen based on expertise and interest in assessment and geographic representation of the nation.

Kim Benton
Chief Academic Officer, 
Deputy State Superintendent

Mississippi Department of Education 

Venessa Keesler  
Deputy Superintendent
Michigan Department of Education 

Paul Leather
Deputy Commissioner
New Hampshire Department of Education

Shelley Loving-Ryder (Chair)
Assistant Superintendent, Student Assessment and School Improvement
Virginia Department of Education

Nate Olson (Vice Chair)
Communications Manager
Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Michael Sibley
Director of Communications
Alabama Department of Education

Scott Smith
Director of Career Standards and Assessments
Kansas State Department of Education

Michael Thompson
Deputy State Superintendent
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Michele Walker
Director of Assessment
Indiana Department of Education

Joyce Zurkowski
Director of Student Assessment
Colorado Department of Education

Bill Bushaw
Executive Director

Mary Crovo
Deputy Executive Director

Michelle Blair
Senior Research Associate

Chris Minnich
Executive Director

Scott Norton
Strategic Initiative Director

Clayton Hollingshead
Program Director

Colleen Jeno
Program Associate

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Assessment Governing Board have a long history of working collaboratively on a number of projects including development of NAEP frameworks and providing feedback on various NAEP policy issues. In addition, a number of chief state school officers and state testing directors have served as members of the Governing Board over the years.

CCSSO is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states and several jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. For more information, visit

Topics have been discussed in depth on an iterative basis. Several of these topics will continue to be addressed. Additional topics are also raised based on new issues.

Discussion Topics:

  1. NAEP Reporting Process
  2. NAEP Inclusion and Accommodations
  3. NAEP Schedule of Assessments
  4. Grade 12 NAEP
  5. NAEP Reading Trend Line
  6. NAEP Contextual Questions
  7. Common Core State Standards and Assessments
  8. Misuse and Misinterpretation of NAEP Data
  9. International Benchmarking
  10. Board Initiatives on Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps
  11. Future of NAEP Initiatives
  12. Assessment Literacy Initiative
  13. NAEP Digital-Based Assessment Transition
  14. Strategic Planning Initiative
  15. NAEP Testing Time
  16. Research with NAEP Data

The Governing Board receives updates on the Task Force's work. In addition, Task Force members attend Board meetings as observers and also present to the Board periodically.

Task Force members also seek additional input by sharing Task Force recommendations and gathering feedback from their peer groups. For example, members have made presentations to state testing directors and chief state school officers representing states across the nation.

The Task Force provides an important vehicle for state perspectives to be incorporated into Governing Board policy deliberations and projects.