Master’s Degree: Assessment and Policy Studies in Education

The area of Assessment and Policy Studies provides graduate level training for students interested in specialized training in educational measurement and research methodology as well as using these skills in working with educational policy. Some students may wish to require advanced training in these areas to complement work they currently do in schools, departments of education, or testing agencies. The program comprises 11 courses (33 credit hours), with 9 (27 credit hours) core courses required of all students. The remaining 2 courses are chosen with the student’s advisor to meet the needs of the individual student. The culmination of the course sequence will be a pro-seminar capstone course in which the course experiences are synthesized.

The concentration is designed to prepare practitioners in the area of educational assessment, with an additional focus on policy studies. Successful graduates will be able to understand the fundamental underpinnings of educational assessment and educational research and to apply this knowledge both directly in the use of assessments, as well as to inform policy in education.

Core Competencies

The core competencies for the Master of Education concentration in Assessment and Policy Studies in Education include the ability to:

  1. Use and apply basic statistics
  2. Understand research methods used in quantitative research in education
  3. Understand the fundamentals of educational assessment development, both in large-scale contexts as well as at the classroom level
  4. Apply basic concepts of reliability and validity to educational assessments
  5. Understand how to choose appropriate assessment methods
  6. Understand how to administer, score, and interpret assessments
  7. Understand how to use assessment results to make decisions about students, curricula, or instruction
  8. Communicate assessment results and interpretation to a broad audience
  9. Recognize unethical, illegal, and inappropriate assessment methods and use of assessment information
  10. Understand how knowledge of assessment can be used to inform policy

Admissions Criteria

Admissions criteria include a relevant interest in educational measurement issues, strong reference letters and transcript, as well as GRE test scores. International students should also supply TOEFL scores. Interested candidates should contact Craig Wells (cswells@educ.umass.edu) for additional information. 

Concentration Required Courses

As noted, there are nine required courses for completion of the Master’s Degree in Assessment and Policy Studies in Education concentration. These nine required courses span the areas of statistics, research methods, test theory, and policy. Within some of the categories, there are options of courses to choose from. The required courses are provided below.

Statistics

EDUC 555  Introduction to Statistics and Computer Analysis I
EDUC 656  Introduction to Statistics and Computer Analysis II

Research Methods

EDUC 661   Educational Research Methods I

Assessment (Choose 2)

EDUC 632  Principles of Educational and Psychological Testing
EDUC 632A  Test Construction
EDUC 501  Classroom Assessment

Test Theory (Choose 1)

EDUC 736  Item Response Theory
EDUC 735  Classical Test Theory

Policy (Choose 2)

EDUC 633   Education and Public Policy
EDUC 654   Policy Studies in Educational Administratio
EDUC 618   Public Policy, Education and the Law
EDUC 629   Policy Issues in International Education
EDUC 669   Policy and Legal Perspectives in Special Education

Capstone Course

EDUC 753   Pro-seminar in Educational Assessment

The remaining 2 courses are chosen from a series of electives. While the list below is not exhaustive, it includes courses that may be of interest to students. Additional courses can be chosen as electives, and electives should be chosen by the student under the guidance of her/his Advisor.

Electives (Choose 2)

EDUC 619   Qualitative Research Methods in Education
EDUC 650   Regression Analysis
EDUC 629   Policy Issues in International Education
EDUC 669   Policy and Legal Perspectives in Special Education
EDUC 679   Assessment of Special Needs Children and Youth
EDUC 862   Educational Planning and Evaluation

Contact Information

Concentration Coordinator: Craig Wells (Associate Professor)

Associated Faculty

Lisa A. Keller (Associate Professor), Jennifer Randall (Associate Professor), Stephen G. Sireci (Professor), Craig Wells (Associate Professor), Ronald K. Hambleton (Distinguished University Professor).