Neal is the director of the Achievement and Assessment Institute. He also is a professor in KU's Department of Psychology and Research in Education.
He started his career as a high school science teacher while attending graduate school and subsequently worked in large-scale assessment for 36 years. Neal has performed and managed all aspects of the educational testing process for both general and alternate assessments, including as an executive director at Educational Testing Service, associate commissioner for Curriculum and Assessment at the Kentucky Department of Education, senior vice president at Measured Progress, and vice president and general manager at CTB/McGraw-Hill. He has published and presented more than 160 articles, papers, and book chapters on assessment. Since coming to KU in 2006 he has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on 34 grants, including the Dynamic Learning Maps, the largest grant in KU history.