Aletta Odendaal (ITC President 2020-2022)
Dear ITC Members and Friends,
It is an absolute honour to step into the role as President of the ITC, which is an organisation with a proud legacy, and an exciting future ahead. The start of my term as President should have been during the 12th ITC conference, scheduled for July 2020 and to have been hosted by the University of Luxembourg. Sadly, the impact of COVID-19 changed all our plans. Our General Meeting had to take place online, and the ITC Council is now meeting virtually, four times a year, while the executive committee meets online every month, allowing us to continue our programme of continuous growth and development behind the scenes.
In reflecting on the past year, I would like to begin by thanking Kurt Geisinger for his leadership and diligent service as President during very challenging times. He has been instrumental in maintaining business continuity and financial containment amid high levels of uncertainty and concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. I would also like to express my huge appreciation of the contributions made by outgoing Council members, April Zenisky as Treasurer, Anna Brown in her role as Chair of the Guidelines Committee and Kadriye Ercikan as co-opted member to Council. Theresa Glanz also stepped down after several years of providing accounting support to the Treasurer. All the projects and outcomes we have achieved would not have been possible without the continuous commitment and dedication of every Council member and especially Ananda van Tonder, I therefore extend my sincere appreciation to them. It is also my absolute pleasure to welcome the new elected members that volunteered their time to serve on Council.
The uncertainty, unpredictability and continuous implications of the pandemic in both personal and professional life are impacting all of us in more ways than we ever anticipated, and the health and wellbeing of the ITC community remains our priority. For that reason, the difficult decision was made to postpone the 12th ITC conference to 2021. We are grateful to Professor Samuel Greiff, from the Université du Luxembourg and the local organising committee, who put so much effort into the organisation and planning of the conference. Much of their work now forms the basis of the new revised version of our 12th Conference, which takes the form of a virtual Colloquium, to take place from the 9th to the 12th of July 2021. The topic of the colloquium remains that of the Luxembourg conference: “Diversity and Equity in a Globalized Digital World: Opportunities and Challenges for Assessment.”
At the start of 2020 we never thought that we will be faced by a global pandemic causing a health and economic crisis of enormous proportions leaving no country, industry, or person unaffected. We are globally faced with self-isolation and lockdowns where working from home has become an instant ’new normal’. As I write this report, we are facing a second wave of infections globally. But even during these turbulent times, the ITC Council remains committed to our mission of promoting effective testing and assessment policies and to the proper development, evaluation and use of educational and psychological instruments. The disruptive changes brought by the pandemic give us a unique opportunity to strengthen our core business, to maintain and expand our existing projects, and to develop the agility and resilience necessary to bounce back from future challenges. The transition to new ways of conducting our business and relying more on technology to connect with our members, allows us to develop new initiatives, such as our virtual Colloquium July 2021.
In addition, we have another major development in the ITC Learning Centre, which is already open for members to use the CPD test user modules, while the ITC certificate assessment will come onstream in early 2021. We are pleased to announce that we have sponsored four ITC Scholars who were selected for 2020 to have access to the Level 2 qualification on the Learning Centre. We will be providing formal assessment for them without charge as part of our Outreach programme of work.
We have also moved the financial base of the ITC, to a new company: the non-profit ITC Limited; based in the UK. The relocation of the ITC from the USA to the UK has involved complex and demanding work, and we are grateful to our new treasurer Dave Bartram for handling the set-up of the new UK company, and to our previous treasurer April Zenisky, for dealing with the transition from the US side. We are also cognisant of the financial impact in the current pandemic situation, and Council has taken the bold steps of reducing the Colloquium fees by 50% and keeping the membership fees similar to previous years (future ITC fees will of course be converted from US dollars to Pounds Sterling).
It is my sincere hope that life will have become sufficiently normal by 2022 to allow us to have our 13th ITC Conference as a face-to-face event. To that end, we are currently exploring several possibilities, and will be able to confirm a venue and dates in the next newsletter.
This, then, is what we already have in progress. So now we must also look outward, beyond our own reach and community. Aligned to the vison of the ITC, I see the ITC as operating and influencing standards and practice on three levels: The first concerns the way that the ITC has a global, international focus. It has a history in the development of internationally acceptable standards or guidelines and a major focus on the broad issue of test adaptation for use in diverse cultural settings. We also have a regional focus, collaborating and developing partnerships with intermediate professional organisations and we have a national or country level focus, through our strong links with professional organisations and regulatory bodies which operate at a national level. At each of these three levels, we collaborate to effect change in different ways.
Our ITC vision is to promote effective testing and assessment practices and to improve knowledge about test use. During my term as President, I will strive to further enhance outreach and capacity building activities, to strengthen the support gained from our members and to extend our reach into regional development and emerging needs from Asia, Africa and Latin America where there is a great demand for improving the standards of testing. The new ITC Online Learning Centre is instrumental to our outreach and capacity building strategy as it will focus on providing our membership access to educational materials on the one hand and the possibility of gaining ITC accredited qualifications on the other.
Looking forward to our exciting future, I'd like to extend my warmest congratulations to the newly elected Council Members, who will, along with the existing Council members help to lead the ITC over the next two years. We are truly international in our composition and each member brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will make a valuable contribution to the Council.
We are delighted that Steve Sireci is our president-elect, that Paula Elosua is remaining in her role as Secretary-General, and also that Dave Bartram's legacy in ITC continues as he steps into the critical role as Treasurer, overseeing the important financial transition for the ITC. Joining Solange Wechsler as elected members on Council are Rainer Hermann, Wayne Camara and Jon Twing. Stephen Stark continues as Editor of the International Journal of Testing and Nicky Hayes as Editor of Testing International. April Zenisky has stepped down from her position as Treasurer but is continuing Council as a co-opted member to assist in our financial transition. We have three more co-opted members: Dragos Iliescu will continue to further advance developments in ITC Learning Centre; Neal Schmitt will retain oversight of ITC Publications and communications, and Peter Macqueen continues to lead our Membership, Involvement and Marketing Committee. Ann Watts will continue as liaison for IUPsyS and Kurt Geisinger for IAAP whilst also stepping into the role as Past President. Ananda van Tonder continues to provide us with invaluable continuity as Office Manager.
The ITC Committees are now as follows:
• Strategy and Policy, chaired Kurt Geisinger,
• Research and Guidelines, chaired by Wayne Camara,
• Publications and Communications, chaired by Neal Schmitt,
• Membership, Involvement and Marketing, chaired by Peter Macqueen,
• Outreach and Capacity Building, chaired by Solange Wechsler,
• Conferences, chaired by Paula Elosua.
• Treasury, chaired by Dave Bartram.
• Thomas Oakland Award, chaired by Jacques
The chairs of the committees will be providing updates on their work to you through the ITC Newsletter.
I view the dispersion of our membership around the world as a strength and want to enhance international visibility and reputation further. We need to focus on continuous growth and development, expanding the ITC activity and relevance where we do not yet have a footprint or presence. To this end, I encourage all members to share ideas and concerns that you may experience in your context directly with me, so that we can continue to extend the reach of the ITC. I invite you contact me at [email protected].