Research, Educational Measurement, & Psychometrics Ph.D.

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 breath 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, tuition, and medical insurance for three years.

    student standing in front of whiteboard

    Our graduates have gone on to work for the following organizations:

    • Antioch University
    • California State University
    • Columbia University Teachers College
    • University of Florida
    • University of Kansas
    • Mount Holyoke College
    • Ohio University
    • University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester
    • The University of Melbourne, Australia
    • Pennsylvania State University
    • Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory
    • Educational Testing Service
    • CTB/McGraw-Hill
    • National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
    • National Assessment Governing Board
    • National Board of Medical Examiners
    • Law School Admissions Council
    • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
    • National Technical Institute for the Deaf
    • Ford Aerospace
    • Dynamics Research Corporation
    • National Institute of Education, Singapore
    • KICE, Korea
    • Connecticut State Department of Education
    • California State Department of Food & Agriculture
    • Hampshire Educational Collaborative, Massachusetts
    • Department of Education, South Africa
    • Measured Progress
    • Evaluation Systems group of Pearson Educational Measurement
    • Graduate Management Admission Council

    Course of Study

    52 total credits

    Course Description Credits
      Required Courses 36
    EDUC 632A
    or
    EDUC 635
    Fundamentals of Test Construction
    or
    Classroom Assessment
    3
    EDUC 656* Introduction to Statistics and Computer Analysis II 3
    EDUC 661 or 664 Educational Research Methods I or Group Design 3
    EDUC 731** Structural Equations Modeling 3
    EDUC 735 Advanced Theory of Practice and Testing I 3
    EDUC 736* Advanced Theory of Practice and Testing II 3
    EDUC 747 Programming for Psychometrics and Statistical Modeling 3
    EDUC 771** Applied Multivariate Statistics I 3
    EDUC 772*** Applied Multivariate Statistics II 3
    EDUC 794E**** Advances in Item Response Theory 3
    EDUC 821 Advanced Validity Theory and Test Validation 3
    EDUC 891N Advanced Psychometric Methods I 3
      Elective Courses (2 courses required) 6
    EDUC 555 Introduction to Statistics I 3
    EDUC 619 Qualitative Research Methods in Education 3
    EDUC 625 Classroom Assessment 3
    EDUC 632 Principles of Educational and Psychological Testing 3
    EDUC 633 Education and Public Policy 3
    EDUC 637** Nonparametric Statistical Analysis in Education & Psychology 3
    EDUC 650 Regression Analysis 3
    EDUC 707 Generalizablity Theory: Principles and Applications 3
    EDUC 727 Scale and Instrument Development 3
    EDUC 751 Scaling Models for Behavioral Science 3
    EDUC 756 Advanced Measurement Seminar 3
    EDUC 881 Comparative Education 3
      Electives from Psychology or Statistics 3
      Dissertation  10
      Total 52

    Prerequisites:

    * Prerequisite: EDUC 555
    ** Prerequisite: EDUC 656
    *** Prerequisite: EDUC 771
    **** Prerequisite: EDUC 736 

    Typical Program of Study

    Course Description Credits
      First Year: Fall Semester  
    EDUC 555 Educational Statistics I 3
    EDUC 735 Classical Test Models and Practices 3
    EDUC 632 Principles of Testing 3
    Elective  (In consultation with advisor) 3
      First Year: Spring Semester  
    EDUC 656 Educational Statistics II 3
    EDUC 661 Educational Research Methods 3
    EDUC 509 Fundamentals of Test Construction 3
    Elective (In consultation with advisor) 3
      Second Year: Fall Semester  
    EDUC 771 Applied Multivariate Statistics I 3
    EDUC 736 Introduction to Item Response Theory 3
    EDUC 803 Psychometric and Statistical Modeling 3
    Elective (In consultation with advisor) 3
      Second Year: Spring Semester  
    EDUC 772 Applied Multivariate Statistics II 3
    EDUC 794E Advances in Item Response Theory 3
    EDUC 751 Scaling Methods for Behavioral Science 3
    Elective (In consultation with advisor) 3
      Third Year: Fall Semester  
    EDUC 731 Structural Equation Modeling 3
    EDUC 801 Advanced Psychometric Methods I 3
    EDUC 619 Qualitative Research Methods  3
    Independent Study (In consultation with advisor) 3
      Third Year: Spring Semester  
    EDUC 756 Advanced Measurement Seminar 3
    EDUC 794O Validity Theory and Validity Applications 3
    Elective (In consultation with advisor) 3
    Comprehensive Exam    
      Fourth Year: Fall Semester  
    Dissertation Research   10 total 
    1 or 2 electives   3-6
      Fourth Year: Spring Semester  
    Dissertation Research   10 total 
    1 or 2 electives   3-6

    Summer internships are a required part of the graduate student training experience,and the faculty work closely with students to create these important opportunities for students.

     

    Comprehensive Exams

    The purpose of the comprehensive exam is to ensure students have sufficient knowledge of the fields of research design, educational statistics, and psychometric methods, to proceed toward candidacy for the Ed.D. degree. Successful completion of the Comprehensive Exam is an important milestone for Psychometrics students because it indicates mastery of the important knowledge and skills taught in our concentration and that are important for success in the fields of educational research and psychometrics. Students typically take their comprehensive exam during the spring of their third year, and the exam consists of both written and oral sections. 

     

    EDUC 632A Fundamentals of Test Construction

    Enables students to construct educational assessments using a variety of item formats such as multiple-choice and performance-based items. The entire development process, including item writing and item review are covered

    EDUC 735 Advanced Theory of Practice and Testing I

    Theory of mental tests beginning with the classical test theory model and including such topics as reliability, validity, item analysis and test development.

    EDUC 736 Advanced Theory of Practice and Testing II

    Introduction to modern test theory, often called item response theory. Topics include shortcomings of classical models and methods, basic concepts and item response theory models, parameter estimation, goodness of fit  procedures, and specific applications including test development, detection of biased test items, test score equating, large-scale assessment, score reporting, and computer-adaptive testing. Prerequisite: Educ 735.

    EDUC 771 Applied Multivariate Statistics I

    Matrix algebra, nature of multivariate distributions, tests of hypothesis on mean vectors, regression analysis including multivariate regression models, correlation techniques, application to issues in educational research. Computers used extensively to analyze data taken from existing research studies.

    EDUC 821 Advanced Validity Theory and Test Validation

    This course presents and discusses the major theories regarding the concept of "test validity" and the major practices involved in test validation.  The skills taught in this course will enable students to be experts in testing tests. 

    EDUC 637 Nonparametric Statistical Analysis in Education & Psychology

    In this course, we examine inferential procedures that do not assume normality.  Procedures are introduced that allow analysis in designs that involve more than two categorical variables or that involve repeated, unordered qualitative variables. Prerequisites:  EDUC 555 and 656.

    EDUC 727 Scale and Instrument Development

    An introduction to the major steps necessary for the construction of new measures.   This course will provide a framework based on modern measurement theory (item response theory with a focus on the Rasch models) for the construction and evaluation of new measures and scales.

    EDUC 751 Scaling Models for Behavioral Science

    The purpose of this course is to introduce and explore scaling methods essential for research in the social sciences. This course covers techniques of unidimensional scaling, multidimensional scaling, and classification. Prerequisite: Students should have basic understanding of univariate and multivariate statistics.

    Admissions

    Applications to the Assessment and Policy Studies master's program can be submitted through the Graduate School.

    Admissions Requirements

    Applications for admittance to the Research, Educational Measurement, and Psychometrics master’s and doctoral programs are due by January 2nd. You will need the following in order to apply:

    • Transcripts
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Cover Letter outlining interest in the field and previous experience
    • GRE Scores
    • TOEFL (if first language is not English)

    Diversity among student backgrounds and experiences is desired (see Diversity and Inclusion Statement here). To this end, REMP faculty consider the totality of the applicants as reflected in their application materials. Your cover letter is an opportunity for you to convey to the faculty a more holistic view of your strengths and potential contributions to the program. Similarly, letters of recommendation are reviewed carefully for each applicant. There are no minimum GRE cut scores for admission to REMP. We encourage all students, particularly those from underrepresented and historically marginalized groups, to apply regardless of test scores. 

    Application Process

    The application for admission and specific information on graduate application processes is located on the University of Massachusetts Graduate School website here

    Financial Assistance

    Graduate Assistantships
    Students may obtain research opportunities through the Center for Educational Assessment (grants/contracts) or from research institutions/centers on campus. Being a graduate assistant/research assistant requires a commitment of 20 hours per week and the specific responsibilities vary according to project requirements. Graduate/research assistantships come with a tuition waiver and individual health insurance. The REMP program is able to offer between 12-15 graduate assistantships each year. Students applying to REMP will automatically be considered for graduate assistantships.

    Fellowships
    The Graduate School and the College of Education offer fellowships that cover tuition, health insurance, and provide a stipend. Students applying to REMP will automatically be considered for fellowships.

    Diversity Fellowships
    REAL Fellowship: Students from underrepresented groups are automatically considered for the Research Enhancement and Leadership Fellowship (REAL). The purpose of this fellowship is to promote diversity among graduate students by providing summer support for full-time graduate students. Details about this fellowship can be found here.

    STEM Diversity Fellowship: Students from underrepresented groups are automatically considered for the STEM Diversity Fellowship. The goal of this program is to support the recruitment and retention of talented and promising graduate students from groups that are underrepresented in the disciplines, the professoriate or among recipients of doctoral degrees. This fellowship sustains the academic excellence and inclusiveness of the UMass Amherst graduate student community and the entire campus by promoting greater diversity among our graduate students.

    Scholarships
    A number of scholarships are available through the College of Education. Students must apply for College of Education scholarships each year. Scholarship information can be found here.

    Funding for Student Travel
    Current students who present at national conferences (i.e. NCME, AERA) are often granted travel funds from the College of Education and/or REMP.

    Housing

    Graduate students are required to find their own housing. There are several options on campus, and can be found by visiting the UMass Graduate School's Housing Page.

    Additionally, there are several apartment complexes conveniently located on the bus route. Information regarding the housing opportunities in the Amherst area can be found at UMass Commuter Services and Housing Resource Center. Other resources include the classified sections of local newspapers, such as the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Springfield Republican.

    University of Massachusetts Anti-Discrimination Statement

    The University prohibits unlawful discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), and retaliation against anyone based on religion or religious belief, color, race, marital status, veteran or military status, age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, disability, genetic information, or any other legally protected class, in education, admission, access to or treatment in, its programs, services, benefits, activities, and terms and conditions of employment at the University.

    Contact

    Please address specific inquiries about admission, financial support, and the program to Jennie Southgate, jsouthgate@educ.umass.edu.