create consortium for research on educational assessment and teaching effectivness

History of CREATE

Originally the Center for Research on Educational Accountability and Teacher Evaluation (CREATE) was federally funded by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement of the U.S. Education Department.

CREATE use to be based out of the Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008.

Our consortium was established to develop evaluation products. Within CREATE we have the knowledge and expertise to address most any evaluation dilemma in education. 

CREATE is the place to sit around a table and work with leading scholars. 

Read Michael Scriven's Duties of the Teacher  article that was funded by CREATE. 

History of CREATE
and Celebrating 25 Years of CREATE at This Year’s CREATE Conference

by Dan Stufflebeam and Paula Egelson, CREATE Board Member
Note: Daniel Stufflebeam was the first director of CREATE.

Initiated in 1991, the CREATE organization was an outgrowth of the Western Michigan University (WMU) federally-funded Center for Research on Educational Accountability and Teacher Evaluation. Pursuant to the US government's interest, the center's primary focus was on improving teacher evaluation. Beyond that focus, CREATE engaged a national group of collaborating organizations and individuals to work on improving personnel evaluation generally (especially evaluations of school principals, district superintendents, and support personnel) as well as evaluations of students and programs. During the center's five years (1991-1996), its personnel wrote and published an extensive range of books, journal articles, monographs, and special papers and also played the lead role in developing the first set of national Personnel Evaluation Standards. Of course, the CREATE center also was instrumental in launching the successful and longstanding CREATE organization.

Throughout the CREATE project's five years and beyond, WMU's Evaluation Center maintained a Web site devoted to making CREATE products available to schools, universities, and other parties. The Center also archived many of the CREATE project materials. One of CREATE's significant contributions was the introduction of Bill Sanders and his value-added work to the field of education. Another important contribution of the CREATE project was the Evaluation Center's evaluation of and assistance in reforming the U.S. Marine Corps Performance Review System for evaluating sergeants and officers.

At the outset of the CREATE project, government officials made clear that the project would not be renewed after five years. It was clear that a project on teacher evaluation was a hot potato. Members of Congress wanted the center. It appeared that powerful special interest groups in education were threatened by the prospect of serious teacher evaluation and lobbied against the center's initial establishment and any long-term future for it. It was very unfortunate, because, to repeat the words of our dear departed colleague, Jason Millman, the CREATE center was the most productive research & development center he had ever seen.

During this year’s CREATE Conference 2016 in Louisville, a celebration of 25 years of CREATE will take place. During the opening session on Saturday, October 1, a panel of early CREATE board members will speak about the current state educational evaluation, accountability or assessment. Honored panelists will include Bob Rodosky, Arlen Gullickson, James Stronge and Sandra Horn. 

History of CREATE 

from the 25th Annual CREATE Conference

by Sandy Horn

Greetings to all of you from Cary, North Carolina.  My name is Sandy Horn, and it’s a pleasure to celebrate 25 Years of CREATE with you.

The CREATE that exists today is successor to the original CREATE that was formed by Dr. Dan Stufflebeam and his team at the University of Michigan at Kalamazoo, after receiving a five-year grant.  When the grant expired, the question was put to the membership to decide whether an organization dedicated to research on educational assessment and teacher evaluation should continue as a self-supporting entity or simply wink out, once funding ceased. The answer is pretty obvious, since you are sitting here, today, and in 1995, this iteration of CREATE was established.

Until my retirement two years ago, I was actively involved in CREATE as a Board member or officer for almost all of its existence. As you probably know, CREATE is an entirely volunteer organization, and as such, the officers and board serve without compensation. I only mention this to emphasize the dedication of those who have sustained this organization over the years.  Such dedication results from the belief in the importance of open discourse about the often controversial topics of educational assessment and accountability. If you share this belief, I encourage you to consider becoming a Board member, officer, or committee member. You will find it to be an extremely rewarding and satisfying contribution to the field.

So why does this admittedly difficult field arouse such dedication? For me, at least, it is because I believe that educational assessment is absolutely and fundamentally essential to ensuring that children receive the best education that we can provide to them. By determining how much learning takes place within classrooms and exploring what works and what doesn’t, we can provide practitioners and policymakers with the information they need to make wise decisions that impact children.

As we go forward, I would like to suggest that a large part of the energy in educational assessment must be channeled into outreach—outreach to educational practitioners and policymakers.  Maybe I feel this way because the last fifteen years of my life were involved with teaching educators, mostly at the classroom, school, and district level, how to use their own data to improve progress for students who were not keeping up with their peers and to maintain the progress of students who were. It was my experience that even those educators who were initially hostile to the data, either on principle or because their data showed them to be less than effective, would, over the course of our conversation, come to own and embrace the information their data provided as a powerful tool for achieving our mutual goal: improving the educational progress of students.

What we find out about schools and classrooms through educational assessment must be used in those schools and classrooms if we are to see any improvement in the educational experience of students, and that is, in my opinion, the only reason we should do educational assessment. If that is to happen, we must put our findings in the hands of educators and ensure they know how to interpret and use it for the betterment of students.

My career in educational assessment and accountability was in the field of growth models—specifically EVAAS and its iterations, developed by Dr. William Sanders. When CREATE was young, to say that test measures could provide any useful information to teachers, especially about their own effectiveness, was complete heresy. Educational assessment was almost entirely comprised of competing observational models and theories. Nevertheless, CREATE provided a forum for the discussion of growth models, even back then, as well as the accepted models of the day.

CREATE is and always has been a forum for a wide spectrum of ideas and approaches to educational assessment and to how these approaches have been and are being applied to address the strictures of accountability. Practitioners present how they have addressed the effectiveness of teachers and schools and whether their efforts have been effective or not.  New methods of assessment are presented and discussed. I doubt if any of you agrees with everything you’ve heard during this conference (and, maybe, during this speech), and that is as it should be.  CREATE provides a place and time for questioning colleagues and challenging ideas, as well as receiving feedback.  While encouraging this, I want to remind us all that integrity requires OPEN debate, not closed minds.  Listen, explore, think, and consider.  Challenge yourself as well as others.  The space for collegial debate that CREATE provides is one of its greatest contributions to the field.

So thank you all for what you are doing for the children, through your work in educational assessment and accountability and through your participation as a member of CREATE. Many, many, happy and productive returns.

Sandy Horn

About us

The Consortium for Research Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness (CREATE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement of assessment and evaluation in PK-12 and higher education. 

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‚ÄčMembership in CREATE is open to all persons and organizations engaged in educational assessment or evaluation research, policy, or practice.

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CREATE is a sponsoring organization of the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (JCSEE)


Members of CREATE contribute to the American Evaluation Association, AEA 365 Blog: 

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