Assessment

Clinton Picks Researcher As NCES Commissioner

By Joetta L. Sack — February 09, 2000 2 min read

President Clinton will nominate Lauress L. Wise II, a researcher who specializes in testing, to become the next federal commissioner of education statistics, the White House announced last week.

The nonpartisan position has been vacant since last June, when Commissioner Pascal D. Forgione Jr. stepped down after the Clinton administration declined to support his renomination to the post he had held since 1996. ( “Renomination Blocked, Forgione To Depart,” May 26, 1999.)

Mr. Wise’s four- year appointment requires Senate confirmation. The commissioner reports to the secretary of education and oversees the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, which collects, analyzes, and disseminates education data from across the country.

Lauress L. Wise II

Mr. Wise has served since 1994 as the president of Human Resources Research Organization, or HumRRO, a nonprofit, Alexandria, Va.-based company that conducts research in education and other areas for the federal government and the private sector.

Among other projects, he served on a panel that examined the National Assessment of Educational Progress for the National Academy of Sciences.

Last year, he evaluated Kentucky’s performance on NAEP, and found that the exclusion of some students with disabilities had little impact in the state’s increase in scores.

“Lauress Wise’s brilliance in testing, psychometrics, and data analysis, including his valuable work evaluating the National Assessment of Educational Progress, places him among top experts in the country,” Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley said in a prepared statement.

Questions Ahead?

In an interview last week, Mr. Wise said he would appreciate the opportunity to streamline the management of the NCES and make some technical changes. But he noted that his nomination was still subject to Senate approval, and he predicted that he might face some intensive questioning at the confirmation hearing.

“I’m quite honored and flattered to be considered,” Mr. Wise said.

Joe Karpinski, a spokesman for the Republicans on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which would consider the nomination, said he was unable to predict when hearings would take place.

Before going to work at HumRRO, Mr. Wise directed the research-and-development program for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, which is used by some high schools for career counseling and by the military for selecting recruits.

He was an associate research scientist at the American Institutes of Research from 1974 to 1990.

Mr. Wise, who declined to give his age, received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 1967 and a Ph.D. in mathematical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.

A version of this article appeared in the February 09, 2000 edition of Education Week as Clinton Picks Researcher As NCES Commissioner

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