Esther lives in Apex, North Carolina with her Kiwi husband and two young Kiwi-Korean-Irish-American sons.

Esther Hong Delaney | Design Manager

Esther has been engaged in K-16 education policy, reform, and student learning outcomes assessment for over two decades, focusing on transforming students from passive recipients of learning who perceive learning as a “commodity” to builders constructing a learner identity for themselves. As a Design Manager at 2Rev, Esther engages with key stakeholders in educational organizations to explore the intersection of teaching, learning, and assessment, to harness their expertise, and to activate what they don’t yet know to build powerful and challenging learning experiences for students and adults alike.

Prior to 2Rev, Esther worked at the National Alliance of Business where she built strategic school-to-career partnerships with educators, policymakers, and employers. For the past 12 years, she has concentrated on the issues of accountability, assessment, and student learning outcomes (SLO) in higher education. Esther was part of the original, core team from the Council for Aid to Education (CAE) that launched, in 2004, the groundbreaking Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) and the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA)—a SLO assessment measuring critical thinking, analytic reasoning, and written communication. She led test administration, the scoring division, and co-created the CLA in the Classroom Performance Task Academies—delivering professional development workshops to 700+ higher education faculty, senior-level administrators, and K12 educators to help them create performance tasks and rubrics.

Esther has a Ph.D. in Sociology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her dissertation examined collective faculty response to SLO assessment and the CLA in five higher education institutions. She also has an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and graduated magna cum laude with highest honors with a bachelor’s degree in History from Harvard College. 

What do you mean when you talk about a “learner identity”?

We need to put a halt to the current popular thinking that learning is a commodity or that it is something we “do” when we cross the threshold of a school building only to divest ourselves of it once we leave the building! Rather, we want to help young people (and adults!) think of learning as an intrinsic part of their identity, as a lens through which they see and interact with the world. But in order to construct this learner identity, we need to radically re-design our educational paradigms.

What inspires you in your life and work?

A couple years ago, my then four-year-old son and I were in one of our marathon Lego-building sessions. He saw me looking around a bit frantically for the Lego instruction booklet and came over to reassure me by saying, “Mommy, you don’t need instructions. You can build whatever you want.”