Martha Thurlow


  • Assessment
  • English language learners
  • Special education and learning disabilities

Martha Thurlow is director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes.  She addresses the implications of contemporary U.S. policy and practice for students with disabilities and English language learners. With a career that has spanned 40 years, Thurlow has a broad range of experience and expertise on policy and practice issues that affect students with disabilities and those who are English learners. Thurlow has been the principal investigator on more than 20 federal or state projects focused on students with special needs in state and national policies and in large-scale accountability assessments, including graduation exams. Emphasis is on how to obtain valid, reliable, and comparable measures of the knowledge and skills of these students while ensuring that assessments are truly measuring their knowledge and skills not measuring their disabilities or limited language when these are not the focus of the assessment. Studies have covered a range of topics, including participation decision making, accommodations, universal design, accessible reading assessments, computer-based testing, graduation requirements and graduation exams, and alternate assessments.