Students in this area study theoretical and applied issues in the measurement of human characteristics with an emphasis on measurement in education. The standards and procedures for the development and use of techniques for collecting and analyzing data are emphasized through the study of measurement methods, including classical test theory, item response theory, skills diagnosis, and computer adaptive testing. Students also achieve proficiency with advanced statistical methods. Research possibilities range from basic research on the development of mathematical and statistical models for educational data to large-scale, data-based assessment procedures for local, state, and national organizations.
Students in the Ph.D. program with a focus on educational measurement have the option of acquiring a master's degree in applied statistics or an applied master's degree in statistics with a specialization in psychometrics and behavioral statistics. These degrees are awarded by the Department of Statistics.
Students in this area focus on the development and/or application of quantitative methods and statistical models to educational data. All students are expected to acquire an understanding of advanced descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. Besides traditional methods (e.g., MANOVA, general linear model), students have the opportunity to gain experience with cutting-edge developments in structural equation modeling, hierarchical (non) linear models, longitudinal data analysis, categorical data analysis, and procedures for dealing with missing data. An emphasis in our program is on the modeling of data to describe the systematic structure. All students are expected to acquire the ability to conduct statistical analyses of data, as well as develop a deep understanding of the theoretical basis for various univariate and multivariate statistical techniques.
Students in the Ph.D. program with a focus on statistics have the option of acquiring a master's degree in applied statistics or an applied master's degree in statistics with a specialization in psychometrics and behavioral statistics. These degrees are awarded by the Department of Statistics.
Students who select this area acquire skills and abilities that enable them to become independent researchers and collaborators with other researchers and agencies about proper statistical techniques and research design applications.
In this area of study, students explore methodologies for the design of various kinds of studies of educational and social phenomena that seek answers to questions about causality as well as meaning. Case study designs, qualitative designs, mixed-method designs, as well as experimental designs are the subject matter of different courses. In addition to acquiring an understanding of design principles and assumptions, students learn about the nature of knowledge that research designs aim to develop.
Evaluation of social and educational programs is a rapidly growing field of scholarly inquiry and professional practice. Evaluation scholars – in education, social welfare, health services, community development, human resource development, and other domains – are located in universities throughout the U.S. and in many other countries. Evaluation practitioners contribute important information and perspectives to countless public policy initiatives and to private and philanthropic innovations at all levels of government, industry, and community life. Blending research skills with policy expertise, evaluators strive to contribute meaningfully to society’s continuing efforts to improve itself.
Students who select the evaluation specialization will pursue coursework and applied field experiences in evaluation theory, evaluation practice, and multiple traditions of research methods. A distinctive character of evaluation is its use of multiple, diverse methods. Moreover, the curriculum also features particular attention to the socio-political character of the contexts in which evaluation is conducted, notably the public policies and programmatic innovations involved.
Many students who select the evaluation specialization also have a substantive field of interest such as early reading instruction, adolescent development, or technological innovations in education. Evaluation graduates are well-prepared for jobs in universities, research organizations, or public or private evaluation offices.