Dr. Sara Vispoel is an award-winning former high school biology teacher. As a practicing teacher, she had hated standardized tests and felt that her own understanding of her students’ proficiency was far greater than any “outside test” would reveal. Yet the importance placed on test scores by both her students and by policymakers drove her to learn more about assessment, and resulted in her earning a Masters and Ph.D in Psychological Quantitative Foundations in Educational Measurement and Statistics.
She brought her expertise in teaching and measurement to ACT in 2003, initially overseeing the development of forms for existing tests (including the ACT), and later collaborating on the design and delivery of new tests.
ACT’s recognition as a leader in college- and career-readiness lead to Sara’s inclusion in authoring the initial Common Core State Standards (CCSS), her role being to assure each CCSS anchor standard in ELA and math was backed with research-evidence.
Sara has worked with multiple states directly on standard-setting, PLD development, alignment studies, and assisting with peer review evidence. Sara has done studies primarily on computer-based testing while her teams have executed ACT’s National Curriculum Survey studies, collaborated to develop the ACT Holistic Framework, and most recently has published leading-edge approaches to design science and construct validity evidence (e.g. eye-tracking).
Sara currently leads the Assessment Design group in ACTNext, assuring that all tools coming out of ACT use principled design science approaches, are designed for best practice, learner-focused, accessible, and take advantage of optimal teacher, learning, and data models.
Contact: Sara.Vispoel (at) act.org