Prior to his work at PARCC, Jeff spent nearly 25 years with the Massachusetts Department of Education, where he served as Deputy Commissioner, Associate Commissioner for Standards Assessment, and Director of Student Assessment.
Earlier in his career, Jeff developed curricula and trained teachers for a federally funded refugee resettlement program in Thailand, facilitating the successful transition of Southeast Asian refugees to life in the United States. He also taught chemistry in a public high school in Vermont and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in India.
Jeff’s most notable accomplishment for PARCC was to lead multiple efforts to refine the design of the assessments to reduce testing time and cost without compromising the validity and reliability of the tests. The PARCC tests are currently the only state assessments in the country to have received full approval by the USED Peer Review Process. Moreover, as part of the leadership team at Parcc Inc., Jeff played a significant role in briefing the PARCC Governing Board, comprised of member states’ Chief State School Officers, on a range of technical and policy issues.
Jeff also established a flexible licensing process to make PARCC’s high quality content accessible to any state. For that program, Jeff devised a cost-effective pricing structure, processes to ensure the timely and secure transfer of content, and criteria for establishing comparability to PARCC results.
Jeff earned his stripes in the area of assessment at the Massachusetts Department of Education, where he led the development of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), one of the nation’s most highly regarded and longest standing student assessment program.
For his work on MCAS, Jeff was awarded the Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service. He also received a Friend of Education Award from the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association in the same year that passing MCAS high school tests became a criterion for high school graduation. This was an unexpected award given the controversy surrounding the state mandate.
NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress)
Jeff spent several years as a member of the NAEP Validity Studies Panel (NVS) and the Technical Advisory Committee for Standard Setting. While on the NVS, Jeff contributed to the design of a range of studies on topics such as test and content alignment, curriculum sensitivity, and standards validation. While on the TAC for Standard Setting, Jeff contributed to a document defending the validity of NAEP’s achievement levels, which now serve as the “gold standard” against which states compare the rigor of their own standards.
State Assessment Technical Advisory Committees
Jeff has served on the Technical Advisory Committees for Maine, Kentucky, and the New England Comprehensive Assessment Program (NECAP), and is currently on the TAC for the New Hampshire Statewide Assessment System. He is also providing technical assistance on behalf of the Chief State School Officers to states interested in developing innovative approaches to their statewide assessments.
Jeff holds an Ed.M. in Administration, Policy, and Planning from the Harvard Graduate School of Education; an M.S.T. (Master’s in Science Teaching) from the Antioch Graduate School of Education; and a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts.
Jeffrey Nellhaus, Ed.M.
Jeff Nellhaus joined the Assessment Solutions Group after serving as Chief of Assessment for Parcc, Inc., the project management partner for the PARCC Consortium. PARCC, which stands for the Partnership for Readiness for College and Careers, is a consortium of states dedicated to building common, cutting-edge student assessments designed to promote effective teaching and learning and support state accountability systems.