The Montana Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) serves as a consulting group to the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) to ensure the validity and reliability of the test scores and fairness in testing all students. The members are knowledgeable in educational measurement with rich experiences on psychometric and testing issues in the design, development, and implementation of large-scale assessments. Members of the MTAC are highly regarded national, state, and local experts who have been widely published in their respective fields and have a good combination of various expertise to contribute to the OPI.

Montana's TAC is comprised of the following independent members:

  1. Susan Davis-Becker, Ph.D and National Expert (TAC Chair)
  2. Ellen Forte, Ph.D and National Expert
  3. Karla Egan, Ph.D and National Expert
  4. Scott Marion, Ph.D and National Expert
  5. Jason Nicholas, Ph.D and National Expert
  6. Jan Martin, Former South Dakota Assessment Director and State Expert
  7. Jeremy MacDonald, Superintendent and Local Representative


Susan Davis-Becker, Ph.D (TAC Chair)

Susan Davis-Becker specializes in strategic planning and operational support for launching and sustaining assessment programs and serves on Montana’s TAC as a national expert and the Chair. She received her doctorate in assessment and measurement at James Madison University and has advised on the design and redesign of numerous testing programs, overseen test development operations for large- and small-scale programs, and conducted high-stakes audits and evaluations. In her current role, Susan focuses on helping program sponsors tackle the challenges that accompany the development and maintenance of testing programs. Susan’s background with audits and external evaluations provides her with the background necessary to assist Montana with oversight of their program design and operations. Her experience in both the education and credentialing testing sectors allows her to bring best practices from both domains to her work with the Montana TAC. 

Ellen Forte, Ph.D  

Ellen Forte is the CEO and Chief Scientist of edCount, LLC, the consulting firm she founded in 2003 and serves on Montana’s TAC as a national expert. Dr. Forte’s work focuses on validity evaluation and on policies for how students, including those with disabilities and English learners engage in instructional and assessment contexts. She particularly specializes in designing, developing, and evaluating assessments for alignment quality. She has served as a senior advisor to several large assessment projects funded by the US Department of Education and has been a federal peer reviewer for education standards and assessments, accountability systems, state longitudinal data systems, and graduation rates. She also serves on the Technical Advisory Committees for six US states, ACT, Curriculum Associates, Project Lead the Way, and the UK Standards and Testing Agency as well as on the editorial boards for Educational Measurement (5th edition), Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, Applied Measurement in Education, and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) Newsletter. She has specific expertise and experiences important for Montana’s TAC including a background in assessment development, alignment, evaluation, state, and federal accountability systems, civil rights laws, education policy, and assessments for special populations such as students with disabilities and English learners.

Karla Egan, Ph.D

Karla Egan is the Principal of EdMetric LLC, which she founded in 2015 to provide psychometric capacity to educational agencies and organizations. Her psychometric career has spanned 20 years, and she is nationally and internationally recognized for her expertise in standard setting. Her published works and innovative approaches to creating meaningful, content-based interpretations of student performance have become widely recognized as “industry-standard”. Her team created the framework for achievement level descriptors that were used by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and has subsequently been implemented in many large-scale assessment programs. She brings to the Montana TAC deep experience in psychometrics, underscored by professional experience including serving as a Research Scientist and Research Manager for CTB/McGraw-Hill, where she assumed a role as a lead psychometrician for multiple state-level assessment programs. She is adept at evaluating the technical intricacies of large-scale test development with a keen eye for stakeholder expectations and the requirements of the United States Department of Education Peer Review requirements.  

Scott Marion, Ph.D    

Scott Marion is the President and Executive Director of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment. Dr. Marion is a national leader in designing innovative and balanced assessment systems to support instructional and accountability uses and is working to better conceptualize and implement high-quality balanced systems of assessment and accountability. He is also actively engaged with a broad range of Center clients including chief state school officers, legislators, state and district assessment and accountability leaders, and classroom teachers. Scott’s projects include designing and supporting states in implementing assessment and accountability initiatives, providing technically-defensible policy guidance, and implementing high quality, locally-designed performance-based assessments.
Scott coordinates and/or serves on seven state or district Technical Advisory Committees (TAC) for assessment, accountability and educator evaluation. He has served on multiple National Research Council (NRC) committees including to support designs for next generation science assessments, investigating the issues and challenges associated with incorporating value-added measures in educational accountability systems, and outlining best practices in state assessment systems.

Scott Marion partners with Associate Director Chris Domaleski to manage the operations of the Center and works closely with the Center Board of Directors to establish the long- and short-term strategic direction of the organization. 

Scott has published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes; he also regularly presents his work at the national conferences of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). In addition, Scott serves his community as a member of the Rye (NH) School Board.

Prior to joining the Center for Assessment in early 2003, Scott was the Director of Assessment and Accountability for the Wyoming Department of Education; he began his career as a field biologist and high school science teacher.

Scott received a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder with a concentration in Measurement and Evaluation.

Jason Nicholas, Ph.D   

Jason Nicholas works in the fields of measurement, testing, and assessment and serves on Montana’s TAC as a state and national expert. In his current employment, he supports state departments of education from across the country in all facets of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Jason has also worked in support of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). He has experience working at the Wyoming Department of Education in the assessment unit and as the Director of Mathematics Education at the Center for the Advancement of Mathematics and Science Education at Black Hills State University.  Jason has taught mathematics and statistics courses at the middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate levels and brings insights from all of these experiences. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico in mathematics, a master’s degree from the University of Wyoming in statistics, and a doctorate from the University of Wyoming in statistics education. He lives in Bozeman, MT with two daughters in the Bozeman Public School System.      

Jan Martin, Former South Dakota Assessment Director   

Jan Martin was an educator for more than 40 years teaching elementary, middle school, and college students with a focus on quality science and mathematics education and serves on Montana’s TAC as a state expert.  For nineteen years, Jan worked for the South Dakota Department of Education in a variety of roles including leading change initiatives for math and science education along with serving as the NAEP State Coordinator for nine years. She served as the Assessment Director for six years managing the administration of English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics, and science assessments for general and alternate populations and English Learner proficiency assessments. She has the expertise and experiences important for Montana’s TAC including managing the change in student assessment from paper/pencil to online assessment for all student assessments.  This includes the full implementation of Smarter Balanced across grades 3-8 and 11including the use of the interim assessments and Digital Library. She also has experience collaborating with the South Dakota Board of Regents. 

Jeremy MacDonald, Superintendent of Box Elder Public Schools

Jeremy MacDonald is the Superintendent of Box Elder Public Schools and serves on Montana’s TAC as a state and local expert. His teaching experience includes five years at Rocky Boy Elementary and seven years at Sunset Elementary School in the Cartwright School District in Phoenix. He graduated from Box Elder in 1997 and has bachelor's degrees in Elementary Education and Native American Studies from the University of Montana and a master's degree from Arizona State University in Curriculum and Instruction, and has completed Administrative Internships for the Principalship and Superintendent role through the University of Montana.  He is a member of the National Indian Education Study Technical Review Panel, earned the 2014 UM NAS Distinguished Alumni Award, is a member of the Stone Child College Executive Board and the MSU Northern Education Department Advisory Board.  He was part of the inaugural class of Gates Millennium Scholars in 2000. Jeremy has specific expertise and experiences in serving as an educator for 17 years, the last 10 years serving the Chippewa-Cree community where he is an enrolled member and supporting rural schools of Montana.