James Madison University

Mission & Values


The vision of the Doctor of Philosophy program in assessment and measurement at JMU is to establish and maintain a national reputation as a valuable resource in educational outcomes assessment and applied measurement. As such, the program will help meet the growing demand for quality assurance and program accountability.


To attain this vision, the mission of the doctoral program is to:

  • Provide training for its graduate students that combines rigorous, theory-based course work in assessment and measurement with extensive real-world assessment experiences. This training will prepare students to address the increasing external pressures for assessment data as well as the need for formative feedback for program development.
  • Conduct high-quality scholarship that will significantly advance knowledge in the fields of assessment and applied measurement and promote more effective assessment methods.
  • Provide, both for JMU and outside constituencies, valuable service activities that promote effective assessment practice and contribute to the professional well-being of the fields of assessment and measurement.

The focus of the assessment training in the Ph.D. program is on the design of program assessment strategies, identification of appropriate existing and/or construction of new assessment measures/methods, empirical analysis of aggregate data, appropriate use of assessment results, and effective communication of assessment to a variety of audiences. Moreover, with the extensive background in measurement theory provided, the graduates of this Ph.D. program are trained as experts in assessment, enabling them to enter the field equipped with a knowledge base that extends far beyond the pragmatic aspects of implementing assessment strategies. Although the program focuses on applications of assessment and measurement in higher education, students can apply many of the skills and knowledge gained in the program to assessment and measurement in K-12 education as well as to the health care and business sectors. Students are not trained to perform psychological assessment of individuals for clinical diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, as training in this concentration revolves around the design and improvement of methods to measure program effectiveness.

The Ph.D. program in assessment and measurement adheres to a practitioner-scientist, applied model of graduate training, built on a solid theoretical base in scientific psychology. The program integrates selected, major pedagogical foundations of psychology, assessment and applied experience. The training model is further designed to capitalize on the previous educational and professional experiences and training of incoming students to expand, strengthen and supplement these skills.