CTB: What We Do Comes From Who We Are

CTB/McGraw-Hill was established in 1926 to “help the teacher help the child.” In this day and age, with a vested interest in becoming your assessment partner in education, our mission grows even broader: To help states, districts, teachers, and, of course, students move through an evolution of educational challenges and innovations, including the Common Core and online assessments. (link to smart centers  — ctb.com/commoncore and ctb.com/onlineassessments) Our award-winning programs (link to ctb.com/awards) encompass this shift, offering diagnostic, summative, interim and formative, performance-based, and observational assessments. With high-quality and scientifically advanced reporting, scoring, and data management tools, CTB/McGraw-Hill is proud to be a global leader in educational technology for learners of all ages.

Great, you say. But WHO are you and what do we need to know ?  Well, here are 5 bits of information from our heritage timeline (link to: CTB.com/timeline) that help define the role that CTB has in the world of education assessments.

1) 1926: CTB is founded by Ethel Clark

In 1926, Ethel Clark founded the Research Service Company (now known as CTB). At the time, Ethel’s husband, Dr. Willis Clark, was the Assistant Director of Research for the public schools of Los Angeles, CA. He was involved in the school’s Los Angeles Diagnostic Tests in the Fundamentals of Arithmetic. The test was so impressive, many school districts were interested in purchasing it.

Ethel Clark saw a business opportunity, and bought the publishing rights to the LA test. She mailed 25 one-cent postcards to 25 school districts announcing the availability of the tests used in Los Angeles. One year later, CTB heard from their first customer; the Kansas City, Missouri school district, ordering 20,000 copies of the test.

2) 1938: Created first electronic scoring services

In 1938, IBM® announced the Type 805 Test Scoring Machine, which scored test answer sheets 10 times faster than hand scoring with higher accuracy. Ethel and Willis Clark’s daughter June Duran Stock remembers its introduction at CTB: “The machine was as big as a desk, and the procedure was to take an answer sheet and drop it in the slot, one at a time. The graphite [from pencil marks] produced a little electrical charge, which was indicated on a volt meter on the desk. You had to drop every one of those tests in the slot, but it was an improvement over hand scoring.”

3) 1957: First to stage a “dual standardization”: an achievement test & an intelligence test

n 1957, CTB became the first publisher to stage a “dual standardization” of an achievement test and an intelligence test, and the first publisher to release an Anticipated Achievement score. Thousands of students throughout the country took both the California Achievement Tests and the California Test of Mental Maturity. The 1957 edition of CAT applied the standardization study to provide better measurement and diagnosis in reading, mathematics, and language.

4) 1973: First K-12 publisher to apply empirical methods to detect item bias

In 1973, CTB became the first K-12 publisher to use Differential Item Functioning (DIF) techniques. DIF is used to detect bias in test items by using student data to measure how different groups perform on test items. By employing these methods to detect bias, CTB became a leader in reducing test bias, both in the test development process using rigorous review processes, and after the test was piloted using empirical analysis. DIF techniques are still in use today in the development of CTB assessments.

5) 1996: TerraNova revolutionizes test format and offers multiple measures.

In 1996, CTB updated the California Achievement Tests and the California Test of Basic Skills to create TerraNova. Literally groundbreaking (‘terra nova’ in Latin means ‘new ground’), TerraNova provides students with engaging content and educators and parents with valuable reports. A sixth grader said after taking TerraNova “This test is definitely cool and in a way hard. But you [CTB] make it so that kids aren’t bored with it, and that is awesome.”

6) 2012: TerraNova Common Core Helps Schools Transition to Common Core State Standards

TerraNova Common Core offers a full range of item formats in one test, including multiple choice, constructed-response, extended-constructed response, and integrated performance tasks. The benefit of this unique “one test” approach is that educators can compare student results across grades and ability levels.  TerraNova Common Core uses Three Parameter Logistic and the Two Parameter Partial Credit Item Response Theory scoring models. CTB is the only test publisher to offer both these scoring models, which enable schools to give partial credit on test items and provide a critical window into students’ progress toward mastery of a subject area or specific skill.  In addition to providing accurate and reliable results of student progress against the Common Core State Standards, TerraNova Common Core provides schools with customized research and professional development services to help them align curriculum content to the new standards

… And this is just the beginning of some of the advancements we’ve made over the last 87 years. From our individual diagnostic assessments for K-2, to a web-delivered assessment that scores writing, to awards for our Acuity Solution (LINK) for Best Student Assessment Solution, we have a history rich in story, and even richer in success.

For more details about our heritage and who we are, visit our heritage timeline (ctb.com/timeline) and of course, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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