The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

School of Education - Educational Research Methodology

ERM Launches Alumni Endowment

September 16th, 2014

ERM is proud to announce the launch of the ERM Alumni Endowment, which will help support the learning opportunities of ERM students for years to come. Funds generated by the endowment will aid ERM students in numerous ways, including providing scholarships to offset educational costs, covering costs associated with conference attendance, and providing support for additional professional development opportunities. More information about the Endowment can be found on the Alumni Page of the ERM website under the “ERM Alumni Endowment” tab.

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Dr. Terry Ackerman named President-Elect of Psychometric Society

September 2nd, 2014

ERM Professor Dr. Terry Ackerman has been named president-elect of the Psychometric Society. Terry is an internationally recognized expert in psychometric models and a leading authority in multidimensional item response theory (MIRT) models. His scholarship pertaining to the use and interpretation of MIRT models in educational testing contexts has been highly influential and is widely cited in the educational and psychological measurement literature.

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ERM Student Receives Outstanding Poster Award at International Conference

August 15th, 2014

Kelli Samonte, a third year ERM Ph.D. student, recently received the Outstanding Poster Award at the 2014 annual meeting of the Psychometric Society, held in Madison, Wisconsin. Her poster, titled “Using Factor Mixture Models to Model Dimensionality Differences Across Proficiency Levels”, described a latent variable modeling approach to operationalizing and measuring growth in proficiency. Often gains in proficiency are modeled as increases in attributes, whereby the attributes are treated as consistent across all levels of proficiency. Some researchers, however, suggest that information is reorganized (e.g., becomes automatic) and constructs change as individuals increase in proficiency. Kelli’s study examined whether confirmatory mixture multidimensional item response theory (MIRT) models could be used to classify individuals into the correct proficiency level. To this end, Kelli conducted a simulation study in which the relationship between the factors and the group size was varied to examine how the models would perform in different situations. The preliminary results suggest that the models perform best (i.e., correctly classifying individuals and adequately recovering parameters) in conditions with low correlations between factors.

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Dr. Jill Chouinard Joins the ERM Faculty

June 5th, 2014

After an extensive two-year search for a professor specializing in program evaluation, we are pleased to announce that Dr. Jill Chouinard has been hired as Assistant Professor of Program Evaluation Methodology in ERM. Dr. Chouinard received her Ph.D. from the University of Ottawa in 2010 where she studied under famed program evaluation expert Dr. Brad Cousins. Since completing her Ph.D., Dr. Chouinard has been a part-time professor in the Faculty of Education of the University of Ottawa and a program evaluator in the educational, social services, mental health, and international sectors. She has also served as an affiliate researcher at the Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Chouinard has published widely in the areas of participatory evaluation and cross-cultural evaluation, with her scholarship appearing in journals such as American Journal of Evaluation, Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation, and Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Accountability. Dr. Chouinard’s arrival to ERM marks a valuable expansion in ERM’s capacity in program evaluation, where she will join fellow program evaluation expert Dr. Holly Downs.

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Dr. Henson Receives Federal Grant to Develop Diagnostic Classification Models

May 21st, 2014

Dr. Bob Henson, Associate Professor of ERM, has recently been awarded a three-year grant funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the US Department of Education, entitled Development of Accessible IRT-Based Models and Methodologies for Improving the Breadth and Accuracy of Item Option-Scored Diagnostic Assessments. The funded project advances a new set of diagnostic classification models, which are a set of multivariate item response theory models for which the latent variables are categorical. While traditional diagnostic classification models estimate the examinee’s mastery profile from the pattern of correct and incorrect responses to test items such that all distractors are treated uniformly as incorrect, the proposed models will also consider which specific incorrect options are selected to further inform the examinee’s mastery profile. These models hold promise for the highly efficient measurement of student skill mastery, which will better inform student strengths and weaknesses in educational settings. The funded project will develop estimation software for the models in question, and test the models using real and simulated data sets.

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ERM Students Awarded Prestigious Summer Internships

May 5th, 2014

ERM students have a long history of being highly competitive for the top internship awards, and this year is no exception. A record number of ERM students have been awarded prestigious internships for the summer of 2014. To date, the internships awarded to ERM students include:

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ERM Students and Faculty Present Research at NCME & AERA

April 7th, 2014

ERM students and faculty had another highly successful showing at this year’s annual conferences of the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) being held in Philadelphia this past week. In total, ERM students and faculty were involved in the 12 papers and posters delivered with numerous collaborators, which reflects the high quality research being conducted by ERM in the areas of measurement and research methodology. The research delivered by ERM students and faculty include:

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OAERS Receives Contract Evaluating US Lacrosse Coaching Education Program

March 23rd, 2014

In March of 2014, US Lacrosse finalized its plans to contract with ERM’s Office of Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Services (OAERS) to conduct an evaluation of their Coaching Education Program associated with the Level-1 Certification for the Women’s Lacrosse Game. US Lacrosse is the national governing body of men’s, women’s and youth lacrosse, with a membership of nearly 500,000 players, coaches, administrators, parents, and fans. As the home of the nation’s fastest growing sport, a primary goal of US Lacrosse is educating coaches about the technical aspects of the sport, coaching strategies, and player safety.

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ERM Students and Faculty Shine at 2014 NCARE Conference

March 11th, 2014

With the 2014 annual meeting of the North Carolina Association for Research in Education (NCARE) being held in Greensboro this past February, it was the ideal time for ERM to have its greatest showing ever at this event. A total of 15 ERM faculty, students, and alumni authored research and training sessions presented at the conference. ERM’s contributions to the conference began by ERM Assistant Professor Dr. Holly Downs and ERM students Jonathan Rollins, Emma Sunnassee, and Lindsey Varner presenting the Preconference Training Session “Introducing Powerful Tools for Qualitative Research”. A copy of the slides used for this presentation is located on the OAERS website under Workshops & Trainings.

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OAERS Shows Strong Growth and Positive Impact on ERM Student Learning

February 23rd, 2014

It was only a year ago that ERM’s Office of Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Services (OAERS) was formed. The intended purpose of OAERS was simple – to provide the needed infrastructure to support hands-on learning experiences of ERM students. OAERS meets this purpose by supporting and housing analytic and evaluation projects supervised by ERM faculty on which ERM students work to gain real-life, practical experience. In addition to bringing projects in-house, OAERS facilitates internship and practicum opportunities for ERM students with organizations in need of methodological support. In this manner, OAERS in quickly becoming the hub of out-of-classroom, practical learning experiences for ERM students. An added benefit of OAERS is its ability to package the rich ERM expertise in measurement, data analysis, and program evaluation as a marketable service to organizations.

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