NCEO History

The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) was first funded in 1990 as a research and technical assistance center focused on identifying the important outcomes of education for students with disabilities. This initial work led to a realization that academic achievement was one of several critical outcomes of education for all students.

NCEO researchers looking for data on academic achievement discovered that students with disabilities had been excluded for the most part from large-scale measures of academic achievement. This finding led to NCEO’s efforts since that time to ensure that academic assessments are developed from the beginning with all students in mind (universal design).

NCEO has led the way in advocating for appropriate testing access and accommodations for students with disabilities. It also has advocated for the appropriate inclusion of English learners (ELs) and ELs with disabilities in assessments. Further, NCEO has worked to ensure that the assessment results of students with disabilities, ELs, and ELs with disabilities are reported just as they are for other students, and that they influence accountability systems in the same way as they do other students. 

NCEO focuses on the inclusion of students with disabilities, ELs, and ELs with disabilities in comprehensive assessment systems. This includes issues related to accessibility during formative assessment, non-summative assessments (e.g., classroom-based assessments, interim/benchmark assessments), and summative assessments.

Dr. Robert Bruininks directed NCEO during 1990. When he assumed the role of Dean of the College of Education, Dr. James Ysseldyke assumed the role of Director. ​Martha Thurlow served as director from 1999 to 2019. Since 2019, Dr. Sheryl Lazarus has been the director of NCEO.