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School of Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Education
Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics Specialization

The Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics (EMS) program is a specialization in education leading to the Ph.D. Drawing on the diverse methodological expertise of faculty, the EMS program offers a comprehensive range of courses designed to prepare students to develop, critically evaluate, and properly use quantitative and mixed methodologies to advance educational research. The EMS faculty believes that fundamental contributions to educational methodology can be accomplished through study of a wide variety of areas in research methods. For example, students are taught to:

  • Understand recent developments in psychometric theory, as well as technical issues underlying construction and use of tests for selection, placement, and instruction.
  • Develop skills in advanced statistical modeling using a variety of software and have an opportunity to examine how these models are applied to school effectiveness, economic and social stratification, the structure of human abilities, and achievement growth.

Program Coordinator: Danielle Ford

Specialization Coordinator: Henry May

In addition to the Doctoral Core Courses, the following specialization courses are required of all students in the Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics specialization:

  • EDUC 863: Principles of Program Evaluation
  • EDUC 873: Multilevel Models in Education
  • EDUC 826: Mixed Methods in Social Science Research

Note: Students must take one additional methodology course as an elective; this elective must be approved as part of the student’s Individual Program Plan.

Sample Course Schedules

Sample EMS course schedules for students who enter the Ph.D. program in the following semesters are available through the links below.

All Ph.D. students in EMS must complete the following additional requirements.

Methods Core Courses

Students in EMS must chose the following three quantitative methodology courses to satisfy the research Methods Core requirement.

  • EDUC 812: Regression and Structural Equation Modeling
  • EDUC 865: Educational Measurement Theory
  • EDUC 874: Applied Multivariate Data Analysis

Specialization Area Exam

The Specialization Area Exam in EMS is designed to assess a student’s proficiency in integrating various aspects of research methodology to address substantive issues in education. The exam is to be taken at the beginning of the fourth year of study and is organized as a take-home exam spanning no more than three days.

The exam consists of two parts. The first part is based on the course work in EMS, covering topics in statistical methodology, educational measurement, and evaluation. The second part is based on the dissertation topic area.

The student, with consultation from the adviser, develops a reading list for the specialization examination. The reading list needs approval by the EMS faculty. The entire area faculty is involved in developing questions and reading the exam.

Students will be notified of their results within three weeks of submitting their exam. Should a student not demonstrate satisfactory performance on the exam, the student will have one attempt to retake the exam, scheduled at the end of the semester in which the exam was taken. Failure to demonstrate satisfactory performance on the retake of the exam will result in termination from the program. This requirement may be waived in an exceptional case if the EMS faculty deems it appropriate to do so.

Currently the market for students with skills and competencies afforded by this specialization is quite strong, in comparison to the overall academic market. EMS graduates will be well prepared for careers in applied education research in several arenas in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, such as:

  • Tenure-track or research faculty at Research-I universities
  • Research/evaluation staff at national research organizations (e.g., Abt, AIR, Mathematica, MDRC, RAND, Westat)
  • Research/evaluation staff at local research organizations (e.g., Research for Action, Branch Associates, Research for Better Schools)
  • Research/psychometric staff at national measurement organizations (e.g., College Board, CTB, ETS, Harcourt/Riverside, Pearson)
  • Research/evaluation Staff in federal agencies (e.g., Institute of Education Sciences) and regional agencies (e.g., REL Mid-Atlantic)
  • Research/evaluation Staff at local school districts and state education agencies

Program Faculty

The following faculty members are committed to the EMS program:

“Through my assistantship, I have gained critical experience in communicating research findings. One of the most valuable experiences I have had was learning to write and present results to a non-academic audience. I led the development of an individualized report of survey results and presented them in person to the schools who participated in our study.”

Kati Tilley, Ph.D. in Education – Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics