James Madison University

Assessment and Measurement Students Complete Summer Practica with College Board

Becca Marsh


PHOTO: Kimberly Marsh

Over the course of this past summer, I was lucky enough to complete a practicum experience with the College Board. As part of this experience, I collaborated with a JMU alum currently serving as an assistant research scientist at the College Board (Dr. Carol Barry), executive director of data and reporting products at the College Board (Dr. Thanos Patelis), and JMU faculty (my doctoral program faculty advisor, Dr. Dena Pastor, and Dr. Sara Finney) to conduct a series of simultaneous growth analyses in order to examine trends in SAT scores over time. This collaborative effort allowed me to work with a large data set, apply advanced measurement techniques, and present results to my fellow collaborators. I cannot speak more highly of this experience in regards to how it offered me a wealth of opportunities to develop as a researcher, measurement specialist, and professional.

Chris Coleman


PHOTO: Chris Coleman

This summer, I completed a practicum/externship with the College Board. The research project involved analysis of AP pilot test data and explored the importance of considering opportunity to learn (OTL) data in assessment design. It was a collaborative effort, and I had terrific support both from College Board (Pamela Kaliski, a wonderful researcher and A&M alum) and here at JMU (the incomparable Sara Finney). The research topic itself was extremely interesting and pertinent to current measurement practice, and the experience provided numerous opportunities for professional development (e.g., managing various parts of a complex project; working collaboratively from a distance; compiling results and recommendations as an external consultant). I would certainly recommend the experience to other doctoral students!