ETS debuts research institute focused on educational outcome inequality

ETS, the Princeton-based educational testing services firm, has launched a new research methodologies institute designed to examine inequality in educational outcomes, it announced Tuesday.

The Fairness and Equity Research Methodologies Institute will be led by Michael Walker, who has been named Distinguished Presidential Appointee and director of the institute, the organization said in a news release.

“For the past 70 years, ETS has remained a leader in providing fair and equitable opportunities for learners worldwide,” CEO and President Walt MacDonald said in a prepared statement. “Michael’s leadership of this new institute will help us continue ETS’ legacy of high-quality, pioneering research, with a further strengthened emphasis on equity and fairness in the field of education.”

The institute will be part of ETS’ Psychometrics, Statistics & Data Sciences unit, in the Research & Development division. It will examine issues including poverty, structural stigma and resource inequality, and how those play into outcomes.

Walker, who had previously worked for ETS, had been with the College Board since 2013, most recently as executive research scientist.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead ETS’ new Fairness and Equity Research Methodologies Institute in undertaking this important work,” he said in a statement. “I hope that this institute will serve to highlight and reinforce the historical focus on fairness and equity in education that continues to be at the core of ETS’ mission.”