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Joseph O'Keefe



Boston College Professor
Appointed to National Assessment Governing Board

Catholic Education Scholar and Leader Is One of Six Members Named by
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan

WASHINGTON (August 21, 2012) — Father Joseph O’Keefe, S.J., a professor at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and a Catholic education scholar and leader, has been appointed to serve a four-year term on the National Assessment Governing Board, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced yesterday. Five other Board members—three of them also new appointees—were announced as well. Their terms begin October 1, 2012.

O’Keefe, who has served as a professor and dean for 20 years, will serve in the category of "non-public school administrator or policymaker" on the Governing Board, which sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as The Nation’s Report Card. NAEP is the country’s only nationally representative assessment of student achievement in various subjects, including mathematics, reading, writing, and science.

"We are delighted to have Joseph join the Board," said Governing Board Chairman David Driscoll. "His remarkable work and research in education policy provides a background that will be a major asset in efforts to oversee The Nation’s Report Card—the most valuable benchmark we have for monitoring student progress nationally and for states and large urban school districts."

O’Keefe, a Jesuit priest, has been a leader in the Catholic education community and a scholar of faith-related schools in the United States and abroad with several faculty appointments. O’Keefe had a role in numerous publications, presentations, and grants related to Catholic education and other education policy topics. Through the Lynch School, O’Keefe was involved in numerous projects, including teacher-effectiveness assessments and teacher-preparation curriculum. He also was responsible for the TIMSS/PIRLS International Study Center, which conducts large-scale assessments of academic achievement worldwide. His accolades include the F. Sadlier Dinger Award for contribution to Catholic education.

O’Keefe joins the Board as it is overseeing several important initiatives, including research on how NAEP can be used as an indicator of 12th-grade academic preparedness for college and job training; NAEP parent engagement, with a focus on conveying the urgency of closing achievement gaps and improving student performance; innovative computer-based NAEP assessments; and studies linking NAEP with the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).

Congress established the 26-member Governing Board in 1988 to oversee NAEP, which makes objective information on student performance available to policymakers and the public at the national, state, and local levels. NAEP has served an important role in evaluating the condition and progress of U.S. educational achievement since 1969. Among many other duties, the Governing Board determines subjects to be tested, the test content, and achievement levels for each test, and works to inform the public about NAEP results.

O’Keefe joins a group of governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators and researchers, business representatives and members of the general public who make up the Board. In addition to O’Keefe, others appointed by Secretary Duncan yesterday are listed below along with their hometown, category of appointment, and official title. The term for each member is slated to extend to September 30, 2016.

  • Honorable Anitere Flores, Miami – Republican state legislator:
    Florida state senator; Board member since 2008
  • Rebecca Gagnon, Minneapolis – local school board member:
    Director of the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education
  • Andrew Ho, Cambridge, Mass. – testing and measurement expert:
    Assistant Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Terry Mazany, Chicago – general public representative:
    President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust
  • Honorable Sonny Perdue, Atlanta – Republican governor:
    Consultant and former governor of Georgia; Board member since 2008

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Stephaan Harris

The National Assessment of Educational Progress 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 American students know and can do in various subject areas and compares achievement between states, large urban districts, and various student demographic groups.
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 a congressionally authorized project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The National Center for Education Statistics, within the Institute of Education Sciences, administers NAEP. The Commissioner of Education Statistics is responsible by law for carrying out the NAEP project.