As the demand for testing and assessment has grown in education and beyond, the need for experts in the areas of psychometric and statistical research and practice, instrument development, and data analysis has exploded.
We use assessments in instruction, diagnosis, placement, promotions, credentialing, and selection decisions, and in educational research and evaluation. To meet this demand, students in the research, evaluation, measurement, and psychometrics program in the College of Education learn to develop instruments such as tests, assessments, and questionnaires, to use new models and methods for data collection and analysis, design sampling frameworks, collect and analyze data, and conduct research and evaluation studies.
Research, educational measurement, and psychometrics at UMass Amherst has long been ranked among the outstanding programs in the country. Our faculty are dedicated teachers and mentors who also take significant leadership roles in the wider field of psychometric and statistical methods. They assure that students have a strong theoretical training, extensive research opportunities, and a wide range of practical experiences. Students work closely with faculty on projects with nationally known test publishers (such ast ETS, Pearson, and the College Board), consulting organizations, and state departments of education. Students also have the opportunity to conduct research with faculty through the Center for Educational Assessment.
We are also committed to broadening the diversity of our student population and of the field. We not only work to increase the presence of underrepresented and historically marginalized groups, we critically analyze our own perspectives, identities, and implicit biases to understand the impact these have on the development of assessments, and we educate our students and faculty to be social justice advocates (see our Diversity and Inclusion Statement).
Graduates of research, evaluation, measurement, and psychometrics go on to research and teaching positions at universities and colleges, foundations, research organizations, the armed services, government and credentialing agencies, medical boards, school systems, educational consulting firms, and private industry.
Doctoral students in research, educational measurement, and psychometrics focus on educational test development, psychometric models, methods, and practices, educational statistics, and research and evaluation methods. Through the coursework, they develop depth and breadth in the areas of response theory, classical test theory, structural equation modeling, test development and validation, scaling methods, statistical courses (such as multivariate statistics), non-parametric methods, and regression analysis, and simulation methods. We provide extensive support for students publishing their work and presenting at regional and national professional meetings and offer seminars to introduce them to leaders in the assessment field. Our students also benefit from interactions with visiting faculty and students from across the world. All full-time students accepted into the academic program receive full financial support including stipend, university fees, and medical insurance for three years.
The master’s degree in assessment and policy studies is ideal for students seeking to understand the fundamental underpinnings of educational assessment and research and to apply this knowledge in the use of assessments and to inform policy in education. Many students pursue this advanced training to complement work they currently do in schools, departments of education, or testing agencies. The program consists of 11 courses in statistics, research methods, test theory, and policy, and a pro-seminar capstone course in which the course experiences are synthesized.
The College of Education's Statistical Consulting Services are available from students and faculty in the UMass Center for Educational Assessment are available for consultation free of charge.