About SME, Inc.

About SME, Inc.

Strategic Measurement and Evaluation, Inc.’s (SME) provides assessment design, development, scoring, and psychometric services to large school districts, state education agencies, and private corporations across the United States.  SME focuses on improving the quality of assessment material, advancing the reliability and validity of assessment scoring, and promoting the effective use of assessment data. With over 50 years of combined experience of the senior management staff, SME is able to design and deliver customized assessment and scoring solutions that add value to the assessment process.

SME is a full-service assessment company that provides superior service and on-time delivery of high quality products to their clients.  Depending on the project, SME is directly involved in the development, printing, distribution, analysis, and reporting of assessment material.  For example, SME developed benchmark reading and mathematics assessments for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.  These tests are administered a number of times throughout the school year to all students in grades three through eight.

SME’s goal is to incorporate local educators into the assessment development process. It has been SME’s experience that when teachers, principals, and administrators are trained to create their own high-quality assessment materials, these educators take meaningful control of local assessments and are better prepared to use the resulting data to effect positive changes in student learning.


SME provides a full range of sophisticated psychometric support services for both district and state clientele. Once associated with only large-scale state assessments or major commercial assessment products, these services allow SME’s district-level clients to present evidence that locally developed assessments meet professional assessment standards for validity, reliability, and fairness. SME’s ability to apply state-of-the-art equating and scaling solutions to local assessment data enhances the value of these assessments by increasing program flexibility and allowing districts to monitor student progress in new ways.

SME can also facilitate and provide the technology for full-scale Norm Webb-based alignment studies that measure and evaluate the alignment between an assessment program and state standards. SME works closely with its clients to develop customized assessment solutions that meet local needs.  In doing this work, SME seeks to highlight the connections between assessment and instruction and the role assessment data can play in improving student achievement. SME designed and executed a scoring system that covered all aspects of the scoring process, from the collection and inventory of completed test materials to the delivery of a final data file containing scored student data.

SME maintains offices in Champaign, Illinois and Lafayette, Indiana, two university communities with a highly educated work force. These offices house SME’s full-time staff and each site includes a performance assessment scoring center.  Across the two facilities, the scoring centers have approximately 150 web-enabled scoring workstations.  In the fall of 2009, SME added a mobile scoring center with 100 laptops, transportable server stations, and related project equipment.  SME is able to use this mobile scoring center to provide extra capacity for existing projects or as a stand-alone scoring center for specific projects.  For example, for the past two years, SME has set-up the mobile scoring center in New York to provide scoring capacity for the New York City Charter Schools’ scoring project.  In 2011, SME’s scoring centers trained hundreds of scorers and scored close to 2.3 million constructed-response items. All projects were completed accurately and on schedule.

About Dr. Denis Jarvinen:


Dr. Denis Jarvinen is the founder and president of Strategic Measurement and Evaluation (SME).  He has earned his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology specializing in Measurement and Evaluation.  Dr. Jarvinen is an award winning educator with over twenty years of practical experience managing the development of assessment material and analyzing data. Dr. Jarvinen is a recognized authority on facilitating test development and utilizing expert statistical analysis of data.  At SME Dr. Jarvinen is responsible for the design and management of all assessment and evaluation contracts and serves as the company’s primary psychometrician.



Selected SME Clients



Summary of Work

New York City Charter Schools Center

New York State ELA and Math Assessments

SME provides project management and scoring services related to the New York State ELA and Math assessments administered to students in grades three through eight.  The scoring of the estimated 40,000 student tests—with approximately 350,000 unique constructed responses—occurs on a rolling basis with scores returned within 10 business days of receipt of test materials.

Yonkers Public Schools

New York State ELA and Math Assessments

SME provides project management, document scanning, scoring software training and support, and data file delivery services.  For the spring 2011 scoring cycle, SME worked with Yonkers to support the scoring of approximately 21,000 student tests with data files returned within a day following the completed scoring of each grade level of test material.

Questar Assessment, Inc.

Indiana State End-of-Course Assessments (ECA)

Beginning in May 2009, SME became Questar Assessment Inc.’s (QAI) scoring vendor responsible for scoring student responses to the performance assessment items administered as part of Indiana’s End-of Course Assessments (ECA) in Algebra I and Biology. These tests are High School level assessments that play a key role in the Indiana K-12 system. They are designed to measure student mastery of critical learning standards

Riverside Publishing

NJPASS Assessment Scoring and Development Contractor

Riverside Publishing selected SME as the scoring contractor for the lower grade assessments of the New Jersey Proficiency Assessment of State Standards (NJPASS) program. The NJPASS assessments are administered on an annual basis to students in the majority of New Jersey school districts (approximately 87,000 tests and 600,000 student responses to constructed-response items). SME also provides range-finding and scoring services for several additional assessment programs published and marketed by Riverside.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District

Cleveland Benchmark Assessments

SME staff led the development of assessments to measure student achievement in Reading and Mathematics. The full set of benchmark tests are administered to all district students in grades three through ten up to three times each school year and provide teachers and students with diagnostic feedback focused on student mastery of state learning objectives. Item development efforts included the active involvement of the district’s teachers in the development and review of new items at the targeted grades. SME completed revised equating and scaling analyses required to produce multiple equated forms per grade level and to provide a cross-grade vertical scale within each subject area. SME staff also developed statistical models linking scores on the district assessments to scores on the Ohio state assessments. SME’s scoring center is responsible for the distribution, scoring, and reporting of the approximately 40,000 test forms administered during each benchmark testing cycle.  SME collaborated with the district staff to develop a comprehensive family report that includes feedback regarding student performance and predicted end-of-year performance as well as suggestions for enhancing student learning in the home environment.

East Baton Rouge Parish School

Benchmark and End-of Course Assessments

Working with local EBR staff, SME has developed an assessment development plan that provides the school system with valid, reliable, and fair pretest and posttest forms designed to assess student mastery of targeted mathematics, social studies, and civics learning standards at multiple grade levels. This plan includes the development of items consistent with the content of the EBR curriculum, field-testing of items, psychometric analyses of items for presentation to and review by content and bias committees, establishment of performance standards, and the creation of final test forms and ancillary materials. In 2010, SME applied EBR’s existing assessment development plan to the development of new end-of-course assessments in physical science, financial math, and world geography. Each assessment was aligned to the Louisiana Department of Education Content standards.

Michigan Department of Education

MI ELPA Program

Along with partner Questar Assessment, Inc. (QAI), SME was selected as both the development and psychometric contractor for the Michigan English Language Proficiency Assessment (MI ELPA) for grades K-12. Administered to approximately 65,000 students annually, MI ELPA is Michigan’s statewide assessment for reporting students’ annual progress in acquiring English language skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. The development tasks include the creation of new passages for all content areas as well as assisting in training Michigan educators to write effective items to the passages. The psychometric team is responsible for the successful and accurate completion of all analyses required of the contract, including item analysis in the framework of Classical Test Theory and Item Response Theory, Rasch calibration, equating and scaling, establishment of performance level classification standards, and differential item functioning (DIF).

Oakland Unified School District

Evaluation of the New Small School Initiative

SME designed and implemented an evaluation project to determine the impact (if any) of the district’s New Small School Initiative on key school-, teacher-, and student-level outcomes. The evaluation design was a mixed method approach that included the development of new survey and assessment instruments, the collection of interview data, and the analysis of existing district data. A key aspect of the overall evaluation was the development and validation of a new measure designed to assess the fidelity of program implementation within each New Small School. Outcome variables include measures of teacher, parent, and student satisfaction, attendance and discipline referrals, graduation rates, and academic achievement as measured by the California Standards Assessments.

Stupski Foundation

Assessment Audits

SME conducted assessment audits of urban school districts receiving foundation funds. Audits included the psychometric analysis of existing assessment data including the calculation of statistics associated with both classical test theory and item response theory. Additional efforts included the development of statistical models linking district data to state assessment results.


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