The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

School of Education - Educational Research Methodology

Practical Experience:
A Core Component of ERM

ERM recognizes that practical, hands-on learning experience is a critical component of graduate training in research methodology, educational measurement, and program evaluation. As a result, we have infused our graduate training with a rich array of opportunities for students to work on real analysis and evaluation projects as well as scholarly research projects. These opportunities come from experiences offered by ERM’s Office of Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Services (OAERS), summer internships, and collaborative work with ERM faculty on research projects.


Internal to ERM, students gain applied experience in data analysis, research methods, measurement, and evaluation through internships, practicums, and field experiences generated by the Office of Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Services (OAERS). The overall purpose of OAERS is to support the hands-on experiences of our students, with one of its functions being to facilitate internship, practicum, and field experience opportunities for all ERM students. To do this, OAERS works continuously to cultivate on-going relationships with professional organizations that have internship and practicum opportunities that are aligned with the learning objectives of ERM’s programs. Then, through its Internship Matching Program, OAERS matches ERM students to available internship opportunities that are best suited to each student’s professional goals. OAERS also supports funded grants and contracts for which ERM students serve as research assistants and methodologists.

OAERS_2Extended information about internships, practicums, and field experiences obtained by ERM students can be found on the Internships & Practicums tab of this page.

Summer Internships

ERM students also gain valuable experience, as well as professional networking, through completing summer internships with research organizations, testing companies, and organizations that conduct program evaluations. Our students are highly successful in securing competitive summer internships. In the past few years alone, our students have been selected for summer internships with many influential organizations, including ETS, The College Board, CTB/McGraw-Hill, and Measured Progress. Extended information summer internships awarded to ERM students can be found on the Internships & Practicums tab of this page.

Research Projects

ERM students work closely with ERM faculty on a wide range of research projects and scholarly works. This work involves contributing to cutting-edge research in methodology, measurement, psychometrics, and program evaluation. Students publish research in leading scholarly journals, and present scholarship at national and international conferences. Extended information about research experiences of ERM students can be found on the Research Experience tab of this page.

Internships, Practicums, & Field Experiences

ERM students benefit from a range of applied field experiences, including internships, practicums, and involvement in funded research and evaluation projects overseen by ERM faculty. These applied field experiences provides practical, hands-on learning opportunities in the areas of educational measurement, research methodology, program evaluation, and assessment.

Our students have been highly successful in securing desirable internships, practicums, and field experiences. In recent years, our students have completed internships, practicums, and field experiences in numerous organizations, including:

  • Educational Testing Service (ETS)
  • Pearson
  • CTB/McGraw-Hill
  • National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
  • ACT
  • The Program Evaluation Division of the North Carolina General Assembly
  • Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)
  • The Government Accountability Office in Washington DC
  • The College Board
  • Measured Progress
  • The Medical Council of Canada
  • Physicians for Peace
  • Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
  • The United Way
  • SERVE Center for Evaluation Services
  • Public Profit Evaluation Consultants
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • American Board of Surgery
  • National Commission on Certification of Physicians Assistants
  • Chatham County Schools
  • Numerous offices and centers at UNCG

Student Research Experience

Many ERM students are actively engaged in research. This holds true for all students in the Ph.D. and M.S./Ph.D. programs, but also is the case for some students in the M.S. program who are looking to continue on to a Ph.D. in the future. ERM students work closely with ERM faculty on research projects that are associated with particular areas of expertise of the faculty. For students interested in being engaged in research, we strive to match them with the ERM faculty member that best aligns with the student’s research and professional interests. For M.S./Ph.D. and Ph.D. students, this matching occurs by the end of the first year of enrollment through a formal matching process.

Research Topics

ERM students engage in research and scholarship that spans a wide range of topics in educational measurement, program evaluation, and statistical modeling. Some of the more recent research projects have addressed the following areas:

Measurement and Assessment: cognitive diagnostic modeling, multivariate item response theory methodology, item response theory models for polytomous item formats, parameter estimation in measurement models, language assessment and testing, measurement invariance and differential item functioning, assessment engineering, computer adaptive testing, multistage testing, linking and equating, using mixture models to solve applied measurement problems

Program Evaluation: evaluation methodologies, mixed methods, case study methodology, qualitative methodology, software applications for evaluation

Statistical Modeling: mixture modeling, latent variable modeling, hierarchical linear modeling

Within these different areas, research studies can be either applied or technical in nature. Applied projects tend to use real data to demonstrate how different methodologies can be used to solve real-life issues in research, assessment, and evaluation. Technical projects focus on developing new methodologies or answering questions about the quality and properties of currently available methodologies (e.g., which methods are best under which conditions?). Technical projects in the areas of the measurement sciences and statistical modeling will often employ computer simulation studies or statistical theory to uncover the properties of the relevant methodology or model. Although the spectrum of the type of research conducted by ERM students is broad, all projects share the common goal of advancing knowledge and practice in the field of research methodology. Many of our students present their research at national and international conferences such as the annual meetings of the American Educational Research Association, the American Evaluation Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education.

Publishing and Presenting Research

ERM students are highly successful in publishing research in scholarly journals and presenting research at national and international conferences. Over the past several years, ERM students have published research in journals such as Multivariate Behavioral Research, Educational and Psychological Measurement, Teachers College Record, Journal of Classification, and Applied Measurement in Education. Every year, many of our students attend and present research at the annual conferences of the American Educational Research Association (AERS), the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), the American Evaluation Association (AEA), and the Psychometric Society.

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