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The Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation (EDMS) program at the University of Maryland is seeking qualified students for its master's and doctoral level programs.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Gregory R. Hancock, Professor & Progrm Director
C. Mitchell Dayton, Professor Emeritus
Jeffrey R. Harring, Associate Professor
Hong Jiao, Assistant Professor
Robert W. Lissitz, Professor
George B. Macready, Professor
Robert J. Mislevy, Professor Emeritus
André A. Rupp, Assistant Professor
Kathryn Alvestad, Adjunct Associate Professor
William D. Schafer, Associate Professor Emeritus
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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
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