Training provided by the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the Department of Educational Research Methodology prepares individuals for a range of careers in the measurement sciences, program evaluation, and quantitative methodoogy. Individuals with training in these areas are in very high demand in a variety of professional settings. With an increasing emphasis being placed on data-driven decisions in organizations and institutions associated with education, health outcomes, and other public policies, high demand for individuals with advanced training in the measurement sciences, program evaluation, and quantitative methods is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
The use of assessments to measure knowledge, skills, abilities, cognitive traits, and health outcomes is pervasive in our culture. Such assessments are countless, and include large-scale academic assessments (e.g., SAT®, ACT®, MCAT®), assessments used in K-12 educational settings for monitoring student achievement and growth, licensure and certification exams, psychological inventories, and measurement instruments used in the health sciences, human resources, and organizational management. The field of measurement sciences encompasses the methodologies and statistical models used in developing assessments, assigning scores to individuals on assessments, and evaluating the validity and reliability of scores generated by assessments. These methodologies and models include classical test theory, item response theory (IRT), linking and equating, scaling, computer adaptive testing, languate testing and assessment, diagnostic modeling, and dimensionality analysis.
Specialists in the measurement sciences are employed in a range of non-profit and for-profit organizations including testing organizations (e.g., ETS, ACT), school districts, state boards of education, research and evaluation centers, colleges and universities, and also serve as private measurement consultants. The particular careers in these areas range from highly technical positions that concentrate on conducting rigorous statistical analyses to project management and/or director positions focusing on the development, administration, scoring, and score reporting associated with assessments.
Programs aimed at supporting and enhancing the well-being of individuals, communities, and organizations are prevalent throughout the fields of education, business, and social and health services. These programs represent a wide range of sizes, scopes, and settings, including educational supports and interventions, public policies, and health services. In order to determine how a given program can be improved to better meet its goals, the program or organization is evaluated using a systematic assessment of the various program phases like the operations, planning, implementation, objectives, and impact. To meet that end, evaluators must possess working knowledge of methodologies used in conducting systematic assessment and inquiry, including statistical methods, experimental and quasi-experimental research designs, qualitative approaches, and mixed methodologies.
Individuals specializing in program evaluation are employed in non-profit and for-profit organizations involved in evaluation and research, research agencies, colleges and universities, school districts, federal organizations and state boards of education, and also serve as private evaluation consultants.
Quantitative research in education and the behavioral and health sciences makes use of many different methodologies. These methods include descriptive and inferential statistical methods associated with making statements about individual population parameters, and extend to rigorous statistical modeling methods that include general linear models, structural equation modeling, hierarchical linear modeling, and other forms of latent trait and latent class modeling. All of these statistical methods play a fundamental role in determining the effectiveness of interventions and treatments, shedding light on the relationships between important outcome variables, and establishing the requisite properties of a research study (e.g., sample size) in order to appropriately answer the desired research questions.
Individuals specializing in quantitative methodology are employed in non-profit and for-profit organizations involved in quantitative research, research agencies, colleges and universities, school districts, federal organizations and state boards of education, and also serve as private statistical consultants. Careers in applied statistics span a wide range of opportunities, from highly technical positions that concentrate on conducting rigorous statistical analyses to project management and/or director positions responsible for overseeing particular data-based and research initiatives.