What are Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation?



Career Opportunities

Field Work and Post-Graduate Opportunities

Student Body

Faculty and Their Interests

Frequently Asked Questions

More Information







Continue Your Studies in the Programs in
Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation,
University of Maryland, College Park

The Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation (EDMS) program at the University of Maryland is seeking qualified students for its master's and doctoral level programs.

We offer:

  • One of the nation's best programs in quantitative methods.

  • A large number of Research and Teaching Assistantships.

  • Training in a field with great career potential.

  • Opportunities for field work on campus, in the Washington area, and nationally.

  • A capable and active group of graduate students.

  • Opportunities to work on projects in research centers such as MARCES, PADI, and CILVR.

What are Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation?

Measurement: At its most basic level, the field of Measurement is concerned with the assignment of numbers to objects in some systematic, meaningful way. In education and the social sciences, measurement typically refers to a rational assignment of numbers so that they quantitatively describe some unobservable (i.e., latent) construct like ability, personality, attitude, satisfaction, etc. The assignment of these numbers must proceed in a carefully prescribed, reproducible fashion. In most cases, the process is based on a mathematical model that defines how the numbers should behave as the underlying construct changes. Measurement professionals develop and utilize a variety of mathematical tools to determine the reliability, validity and meaning of the numbers assigned during the measurement process. They are employed in both research and applied settings that involve psychological testing, educational testing, or the measurement of attitudes and preferences. These include large scale testing programs like the SAT and ACT.

Statistics: The field of Applied Statistics is primarily concerned with the development of testable research hypotheses, the application of powerful statistical tests to determine the plausibility of a given research hypothesis, and the design of experiments to control extraneous sources of variation. Other facets of this discipline include the design of schemes to collect sample data that are representative of a given population, the description of a population using alternative characteristics of sample data, and the development of alternative models to explain relationships between observable variables. Additionally, the assessment of model fit and the estimation of model parameters also fall under the rubric of Applied Statistics. Professionals in Applied Statistics develop and utilize quantitative techniques to test hypotheses, develop models for observed data, and assess the adequacy of those models. They are employed in a variety of settings where practical decisions must be made on the basis of observed data (e.g., business, industry, government, and education). These include agencies like the American Institutes fo Research, the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Education Statistics, and a large number of private organizations that conduct surveys or polls.

Evaluation: The field of Evaluation is concerned with the application of measurement and statistical principles to objectively evaluate institutional and organizational programs. Programs are generally evaluated with regard to the way in which they are planned and implemented, and the degree to which they accomplish their mission. Examples of such evaluation efforts include the Tennessee model for evaluating school effectiveness, the extensive work on the effects of teacher training upon student success, and the evaluations of the National Head Start Program. Evaluation professionals might work for the Federal Government as contract monitors, for an industry interested in determining their level of success in marketing, sales, or production, for the State Superintendent of Schools examining the results of large expenditures of time and money, and of course, for a University interested in teaching and research in the systematic application of measurement and statistics to the determination of program value.

The Programs

Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation offers programs of study leading to both the Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. M.A. students generally take introductory coursework in measurement, applied statistics, and evaluation. Ph.D. students typically complete an analogous program of study, after which they may continue with a multidisciplinary focus or concentrate primarily on a single discipline.

Most of the educational and social science research that takes place today relies on the expertise of those who develop data collection instruments (such as assessments, questionnaires, and interview protocols), plan research and evaluation studies, develop new models and methods, design sampling frameworks, and collect and analyze data. The University of Maryland programs in Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation provides students with advanced skills in these areas. The master's program gives individuals the broad range of skills necessary to serve as research associates in academic, government, and business settings. The doctoral program qualifies individuals to provide leadership in the conduct of research studies, to serve as applied statisticians, measurement, or evaluation specialists in school systems, industry, and government, and to teach quantitative courses at the collegiate level. We are widely recognized as one of the best applied quantitative programs in the country. Our students are exceptional. Our faculty members are respected leaders within their specialties.


We can usually offer research or teaching assistantships to most of our full-time students. Assistantships are full-time appointments (20 hours per week) that carry both a stipend and a tuition waiver. During a research assistantship, students pursue both individual and collaborative research projects with a faculty member advisor. These appointments are renewable. The duties of teaching assistants range from instructional support (e.g., grading) to taking full responsibility for teaching a section of an undergraduate course (with appropriate supervision and support).

Career Opportunities

There is a tremendous demand for individuals with the quantitative skills provided by our program. Recent surveys of degree programs and employment in measurement show that there will continue to be a shortfall in the number of measurement professionals relative to the number of available employment opportunities. Similarly, the National Science Foundation predicts a strong job market for statisticians over the next ten years.

The need for applied quantitative professionals is strikingly evident in educational research. As education in the United States pushes toward greater accountability and better informed decision making, there has been an ever-increasing demand for professionals who can interpret the abundance of collected data. Each of the nation's 16,000 school districts and each of the 50 state education departments collects large quantities of data to assess the impact of schooling in its community. There are many state and federal data-collection programs, ranging from a regular biennial survey of U.S. schools to specialized cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys. Many of these survey and testing programs result from legislative mandates and they all rely heavily on instrumentation, research design, sampling schemes, and data analysis. Almost all educational research today depends on hard data, rigorous quantitative approaches, and individuals with research expertise. This is a field that is expanding; people recognize that quantitative methods are critical to developing educational theory and are needed to provide a sound foundation for educational progress. As summarized by the American Statistical Association, [People with quantitative skills] concerned with educational issues readily find employment in universities, state and federal government agencies, and private research agencies. The many needs of the education sector for statistical expertise promise exciting careers to all whose interests lie in this field.

Quantitative professionals are not only in high demand, but they also have jobs that are both professionally and personally desirable. The problems that these professionals help solve often have substantial impact on the lives of many other individuals. Additionally, the Jobs Rated Almanac has ranked the job of "Statistician" as the most attractive profession with regard to working conditions.

Field Work and Postgraduate Opportunities

Our reputation and location provide tremendous opportunities for our students to conduct special projects and be involved with real-world, often ground-breaking, applications in government, research firms, associations, and private industry. Current and recent students have conducted special projects with or have been employed by American Institutes for Research, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, The Census Bureau, Westat, State Departments of Education, Local Education Agencies, National Education Association, U.S. Department of Education, Educational Testing Service, Maryland Assessment Research Center for Education Success, and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research of the Food and Drug Administration. They also have taken professorial positions at such institutions as Arizona State University, University of Nebraska, University of Georgia, University of Texas - Austin, The George Washington University, University of Houston, Southern Illinois University, and University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Student Body

We are committed to maintaining high standards for admission to both our master's and doctoral programs, and we have been able to attract top students from across the United States and the world. Our students come from undergraduate institutions, government, professional associations, consulting firms, research units of companies, and the public schools. Our doctoral students are among the best on any campus. The real-world experiences, skills, and aptitude of our students help make our program intellectually rigorous while providing exceptional peer-to-peer support. Approximately one-half of our students attend full-time, and there is a very active departmental student organization.


Faculty and Their Current Research Interests

Gregory R. Hancock, Professor & Progrm Director

Structural equation modeling, Latent growth models, Latent variable experimental design

C. Mitchell Dayton, Professor Emeritus

Latent class models, Information criteria for model selection

Jeffrey R. Harring, Associate Professor

Longitudinal data analysis

Hong Jiao, Assistant Professor

Item response theory, Multilevel measurement modeling

Robert W. Lissitz, Professor

Psychometrics, Educational assessment, Program evaluation

George B. Macready, Professor

Latent class models, Assessment of model fit, Adaptive testing

Robert J. Mislevy, Professor Emeritus

Educational assessment, Statistical methods

André A. Rupp, Assistant Professor

Diagnostic classification models, Assessment in simulation-based learning environments

Kathryn Alvestad, Adjunct Associate Professor

Educational assessment and evaluation

William D. Schafer, Associate Professor Emeritus

Educational assessment

Frequently Asked Questions

How many students are in the program?

We currently have approximately 45 students enrolled in our M.A. and Ph.D. programs.

Do I need to have experience in education to be accepted?

No. Our students come from a variety of disciplines both within and outside of education. The dominant characteristic of successful candidates is that they are very interested in the application of quantitative techniques to solve practical problems. Many of these problems arise in educational settings, but others emerge in the social sciences, government, business, and industry.

I have an undergraduate degree (B.A./B.S.) - may I enter directly into the Ph.D. program?

No. Our current practice is that you first must complete a relevant master's program. If one completes the EDMS master's program first, then one may apply for the doctoral program subsequently. Note that all courses taken as part of an EDMS master's degree apply toward the Ph.D., and the doctoral preliminary examination is waived for those who successfully complete the EDMS master's degree.

Do I need to have a background in mathematical statistics to enter your program?

No, but strong quantitative skills and interests are necessary. Undergraduate courses in calculus and linear algebra provide necessary skills for our program.

Do you have many foreign students in your programs?

Yes. Approximately 50% of our students are from countries other than the United States. For example, we have strong contingents of students from China and Korea.

What are the admissions criteria?

The EDMS Admissions Committee meets regularly during the academic year (see application deadlines on the Graduate School site referenced below). Decisions are based on several sources of information including scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a statement of interest.

What are the deadlines for admission?

Please see the Graduate School web site for current information about admissions for applicants including those holding foreign visas. Our selection committee meets throughout the academic year. However, note that the Graduate School clearance procedures for foreign students can take several months and we do not see your application until these clearances are complete. All applicants should keep track of their applications by visiting the Graduate School web site rather than by e-mailing EDMS.

How much is tuition?

Please see the Bursar's Office web site for current information about student tuition. Note that students with full-time teaching or research assistantships, or fellowships, within the Department receive a tuition waiver in the amount of 10 credit hours per semester.

What types of financial aid are available?

In addition to Department teaching and research assistantships, the University also offers financial assistance in the form of graduate fellowships, tuition scholarships, support grants, and variety of need-based financial aid programs. However, since financial aid is limited, those applicants who need financial aid should apply as early as possible.

When are classes held?

Most classes are held once per week during the evening hours (e.g., 4:15-7:00 PM or 7:00-9:45 PM) so that part-time students with employment/family commitments can attend along with full-time students.

How long does it take a student to finish the program?

The degree programs are structured so that a full-time student could finish requirements for the M.A. degree in approximately 2 years whereas approximately 4-5 years would be required to finish the Ph.D. requirements.

How well does our program accommodate part-time students?

Most courses in the department are scheduled during late afternoon or evening hours to enable part-time students to attend classes. Faculty are generally available for consultation during evening hours as well. This provides part-time students with opportunities for both traditional instruction and individual study/research mentored by department faculty. However, some required courses for Ph.D. students require attendance during daytime hours.

More Information

Visit the Department web site EDMS
Check out UMCP's prospective student page on the main webpage UMCP
For more information, contact the EDMS Program Director

The University of Maryland is an equal opportunity institution with respect to both education and employment. The university's policies, programs and activities are in conformance with state and federal laws and regulations on non-discrimination regarding race, color, religion, age, national origin, political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation or disability


@ Copyright, 2009 Department of Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation
Department of Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation | 1230 Benjamin Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-1115 | tel 301.405.3624 | fax 301.314.9245