Cathryn “Cat” Still is the Executive Director of ELPA21, an English language proficiency assessment system supported by member states and housed at CRESST. Prior to joining the team at CRESST, Cat worked as Program Director for ELPA21 at the Council of Chief State School Officers, leading the development of the ELPA21 assessment system under an Enhanced Assessment Grant from the US Department of Education. Cat brings strong expertise in organizational management, operations, and contract management, as well as years of experience building new programs, developing and executing strategic plans, and identifying and deepening operational efficiencies. Previously, Cat supported Los Angeles Unified School District’s Comprehensive Assessment Program on behalf of the district’s assessment vendor, CORE ECS. Cat has also worked with 2U and The Princeton Review. Cat received her MA from the University of Texas and her BA from Trinity University. Cat grew up hearing Spanish and German at home, learned French in high school, and fell in love with Russian in college after reading Pushkin.
Research Project Manager
Jenny Kao is a Research Scientist with many years of experience in educational research. Her research interests include reading and language development as well as work that enhances education for English learners and students with disabilities. She has been involved in research on developing reading curriculum for elementary school students; examining assessment accommodations for middle school students; and exploring career-readiness features in assessments for high school students. Dr. Kao holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Studies in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
CAAELP Project Manager
Hamida Askaryar is a Project Manager at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) — currently overseeing the Collaborative for the Alternate Assessment of English Language Proficiency (CAAELP) project. In her leadership role, she ensures that the project is managed and clients are served with integrity and high quality. She has over 10 years of experience in project management, dental public health, child/maternal health, and chronic disease prevention. She is a Registered Dental Hygienist, a Master Certified Health Education Specialist, and holds an MPH from California State University Northridge.
Eric Shekoufeh is a Program Representative at ELPA21. He provides support to project managers and research staff on a broad range of initiatives with a focus on branding, publishing processes, and intellectual property rights. Prior to joining ELPA21, Eric worked in the publishing industry, where he served as a copy editor and contract coordinator. Eric received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UCLA. He is an intermediate Spanish speaker.
Kara Schlosser is the Director of Communications for ELPA21. Kara has a Master of Arts in Education, Secondary Curriculum and Instruction, from New Mexico State University. ELPA21 was one of Kara’s consulting firm’s initial clients with the writing of the original grant that funded the assessment system’s development. Kara’s professional experience includes classroom and post-secondary educator, and nonprofit, academic, and for-profit communications. As Communications Director for ELPA21, Kara oversees both internal and external communications, marketing, and outreach. Kara is an intermediate Spanish speaker.
Laquita Moss is a project manager at ELPA21, serving as the Assistant to the Executive Director and as primary administrative liaison for ELPA21 programs and projects. Prior to joining ELPA21 at CRESST, Laquita Moss had a long-standing career at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) serving as the source of support for multiple education research projects focused in program evaluation and assessment. In addition, she has received her Master’s in Psychology, with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Pepperdine University and her Bachelors in Psychology from UCLA.
Assessment Design Manager
Michelle McCoy is the Manager of Assessment Design with ELPA21. Michelle received her Masters of Education and her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Oregon. In 2020, she completed her doctoral program in Educational Leadership at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Prior to joining ELPA21 at CRESST, Michelle was an Assessment and Implementation Specialist for the Oregon Department of Education, focusing on English Language Proficiency. Michelle has a bachelor’s degree in a combination of French and Spanish and attended a French high school. She is mid-high proficiency in both languages.
EunHee Keum is a Research Scientist at CRESST. She received her PhD in Quantitative Psychology from the Ohio State University. Her research interests involve the development of multi-stage testing approaches and the application of latent variable models, particularly item response theory and factor analysis models, to small-sample longitudinal data. Her work focuses on evaluating and improving the design and delivery of educational assessments. She also provides general assistance on statistical and psychometric issues arising in other ongoing CRESST research projects. Eunhee is a native Korean speaker.
Product Development Director
Dr. Jobi Lawrence has almost 30 years of experience working with English learner and at-risk populations through program administration, evaluation, and implementation with educators nationwide. Located in Des Moines, Iowa, she currently serves as the Director of Product Development & Strategic Partnerships for ELPA21 and leads the collaborative efforts on behalf of partner states. Before joining ELPA21 she led the work at the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA). Prior to joining the NCELA team, she served as the Director of Title III and Education Program Consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. Dr. Lawrence started her career as a classroom teacher and also spent time as a tenured faculty member at an institution of higher education, where she directed teacher and administrator preparation programming.
CRESST Senior Associate Director
Noelle Griffin is a Senior Associate Director and has over 20 years of experience in educational research, with an emphasis on program evaluation. She has led numerous program evaluations in a wide range of educational settings, including evaluations of teacher professional development, science instruction, math instruction, arts education, post-secondary education, and social services programs. In addition to her evaluation work, she has also contributed to social emotional learning (SEL) research and development, with an emphasis on the assessment of SEL skills at the K-12 level. Prior to returning to CRESST in 2006, she served as Director of Assessment for Loyola Marymount University, and has a continued interest in assessment and evaluation issues at the higher education level, including the development and use of student learning outcome measures (SLOs) by colleges and universities.
Kilchan Choi is the Associate Director of Statistics and Methodology at CRESST and serves as Principal Methodologist for ELPA. His expertise is in the development of advanced statistical methodologies including latent variable hierarchical models, Bayesian analysis, and latent variable measurement models with hierarchical data and applications in large-scale assessment, multi-site evaluation, growth modeling, and the effectiveness/ accountability of schools. He has developed latent variable regression approaches in modern psychometric models and hierarchical models and his current research focuses on integrating item response theory models, latent variable regressions, longitudinal analysis, and hierarchical models into a general comprehensive statistical model. Dr. Choi is leading the psychometric and research team at ELPA21. He is a native Korean speaker.
Ledis received her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Learning at California State University, LA. Prior to joining ELPA21, Ledis worked as a middle-school humanities teacher as well as an elementary teacher for charter schools located in the south and east Los Angeles areas. As Implementation Coordinator, Ledis works on a variety of projects, including weekly coordination with vendors, assisting with long-range planning for test and item development, coordinating educator events, and managing materials and training. Ledis is a Salvadoran-American and speaks Spanish fluently.
CRESST Center Director
Li Cai is a Professor of Education and Psychology in the Advanced Quantitative Methodology program within the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. He also serves as Director of the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST). In addition, he is affiliated with the UCLA Department of Psychology in the quantitative area. His research agenda involves the development, integration, and evaluation of innovative latent variable models that have wide-ranging applications in assessment research in educational, psychological, and health-related domains of study. Li is a native speaker of Chinese and has a beginning level of French.