Nancy Cole

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Nancy Cole is an educational psychologist and expert on educational assessment. Cole is past president of the American Educational Research Association and the Educational Testing Service (ETS), and former Dean of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of North Carolina. Her undergraduate education in psychology was at Rice University (B.A., 1964).

Cole co-authored Gender and Fair Assessment (Willingham & Cole, 1997), which is regarded as the most extensive study ever completed on gender and educational assessment. The study analyzed data from more than 400 assessments of over 15 million students.


In his book, "Uneducated Guesses",[1] Howard Wainer refers to Cole's presidency of the ETS as "disastrous":, and criticizes the ETS's decision to rename the Scholastic Aptitude Test to the Scholastic Assessment Test, which he describes as "redundant and virtually meaningless".

FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing reports [2] that during this period, ETS " ignored internal warnings about security problems in its computer adaptive Graduate Record Exam (GRE), according to documents recently made public in a U.S. district court...To protect its image and profits in the rush to introduce the new type of test into the marketplace, ETS also misled the New York State legislature about how the system actually worked...In fact, in her deposition, ETS President Nancy Cole admits it is now clear, in retrospect, that back in November of 1994, one or two good memorizers could have given a substantial advantage to a subsequent test-taker."


Willingham, W. W., & Cole, N. S. (1997). Gender and fair assessment. Mahwah, NJ, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Howard Wainer. "Uneducated Guesses". Princeton University Press,2011. ISBN 978-0-691-14928-8. Chapter 2: "On substituting Achievement Tests for aptitude tests in College admissions"
  2. ^ ETS and Test Cheating. Accessed Sept 10 2012.
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Richard Shavelson
President of the

American Educational Research Association

Succeeded by
Philip W. Jackson