James Madison University

Assesment and Measurement Students Present Research at 2015 NERA

Thirteen students from the Assessment and Measurement and Quantitative Psychology programs traveled to the Northeastern Educational Research Association (NERA) in October. The students attended professional workshops related to statistics, measurement, and assessment, interacted with leaders in the field and seven students presented their own empirical research at the conference. The A&M students were among the over 30 JMU faculty, students and alumni attending NERA.


NERA is an organization whose mission is to encourage and promote quality educational research and to create a venue for experienced and new researchers. http://www.nera-education.org/index.php

Faculty Member and Assessment and Measurement Student Win Awards at NERA

Elizabeth Pyburn, first-year Assessment and Measurement student, won the Graduate Student Issues Committee (GSIC) Best Paper by a Graduate Student award for her paper entitled "A Psychometric Evaluation of Miami University Diversity Awareness Subscales."


Liz Pyburn receives the best paper award from Xi Wang, GSIC President

Deborah Bandalos, Assessment and Measurement faculty member, won the Thomas Donlon memorial award for outstanding mentoring

Deborah Bandalos receives mentoring award from Thanos Patelis, Chair of the NERA Awards Committee

Assessment and Measurement Student* Paper Presentations:

*Ong, T., & (Smith) Erbacher, M.K. Factor analyzing change Scores: A close examination through Lord's Paradox. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association, Trumbull, CT.

*Smith, K., Sanders, C., & Fulcher, K. How Do higher education faculty members use assessment results to improve student learning? Paper presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association, Trumbull, CT.
*Strickman, S., Ong, T., & Pastor, D. Evaluating patterns of solution behavior at the item level in low-stakes assessments. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association, Trumbull, CT.

Workshops by Assessment and Measurement Students and Faculty 

Finney, S.J., & *Foelber, K. An Introduction to Structural Equation Modeling.

*Pyburn, E., Horst, S.J., *Harris, H., & (Smith) Erbacher, M.K. Making it personal: The utility of person-centered analysis in academic research.

Assessment and Measurement students provide their perspectives of NERA:

Liz Pyburn appreciated the opportunity to meet and network with leaders in the field:
Graduate students in our program attend the Northeastern Educational Research Association's conference every year, and it is always an enjoyable and academically beneficial experience. NERA's relatively small size provides students with more opportunities to meet and network with leaders in our field than we would have at larger conferences. Graduate students are also encouraged to present their work, and are always provided with constructive feedback. In additional to presenting a paper this year, I also had the opportunity to conduct a workshop about person-centered data analyses. Having never conducted a workshop before, this was a valuable learning experience for me. I am grateful to JMU for providing opportunities for students to gain professional experience by attending conferences.

Heather Harris, Debbi Bandalos, Liz Pyburn, and Kelly Foelber at the Photo Booth

Heather Harris valued the opportunity to present in a workshop at NERA:
As a third time attendee of NERA, I was once again impressed by the caliber of the conference. This year, thanks to travel funding provided by The Graduate School and the Assessment & Measurement Program, I was able to attend NERA to co-present a workshop on using person-centered analyses, a paper on propensity score matching techniques, and to facilitate a panel on best practices for writing technical reports. Once again, we received invaluable feedback on our paper from our session discussant and attendees. The conference provides a great opportunity to network with professionals in the industry working at places like ETS, College Board, Pacific Metrics, Buros Center for Testing, and the American Board of Medical Examiners. As a part of my role on the NERA Graduate Students Issues Committee, I've also had the opportunity to work alongside students over the past two years from different universities and graduate programs while coordinating graduate student focused sessions for the conference. My experience at NERA was once again top-notch, and I look forward to attending next year!

PHOTO: Presentations
Heather Harris presents at the NERA conference

The Psychological Sciences students and faculty thank Dr. Keston Fulcher, Director of the Center for Assessment & Research Studies, for helping to support our travels to NERA.