James Madison University

Assessment & Measurement Ph.D. and Psychological Sciences M.A. Students and Faculty Present at NERA Conference

Group photo of conference attendeesA total of 29 JMU graduate students, faculty, and alumni traveled to the Northeastern Educational Research Association’s (NERA) annual conference in October 2013. Of these, 7 current Assessment & Measurement PhD students, 5 Psychological Sciences MA students, and 7 faculty engaged in the conference. Moreover, 10 alumni from the Assessment & Measurement PhD program and/or the Psychological Sciences MA program contributed to NERA as presenters, discussants, session chairs, and board members.

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

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Research Presentations and Workshops


* indicates current graduate student

*Bandalos, D. L., & Gerstner, J. J. (2013, October). SEM methods for assessing measurement invariance. Workshop presented at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Educational Research Association, Rocky Hill, CT.

*Bashkov, B. M. (2013, October). Assessing the Dimensionality of the Test of Ethical Reasoning: A Demonstration of using Exploratory Factor Analysis with Dichotomous Data. Section of a symposium presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. Rocky Hill, CT.

Fulcher, K. H. (2013, October). Introducing an Ethical Reasoning Framework and Related Assessment Instruments. Section of a symposium presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. Rocky Hill, CT

Fulcher, K. H. (2013, October). Using Assessment Results: Hyped Often, Evidenced Rarely. Section of a symposium presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. Rocky Hill, CT.

*Harris, H., & Horst, S. J. (2013, October). Establishing an Academic Support Structure: An Investigation of Underrepresented Students’ Transition and Persistence through Their Undergraduate Education. Section of a symposium presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. Rocky Hill, CT.

Horst, S. J., & Pastor, D. A. (2013, October). Large Scale Assessment: Problems and Solutions. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. Rocky Hill, CT.

*Jurich, D .P., & DeMars, C. (2013, October). Evaluating Limited-Information Goodness-of-fit Indices in Assessing Multidimensional Item Response Models. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. Rocky Hill, CT.

*Kopp, J. P., Pastor, D. A., & Patelis, T. (2013, October). Examining School-Level Variation in the Relationship between PSAT/NMSQT Scores and AP Examination Grades. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. Rocky Hill, CT.

*Kopp, J. P., & Finney, S. J. (2013, October). The Impact of Missingness on Higher Education Assessment Growth Estimates. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. Rocky Hill, CT.

*MacDonald, S., Williams, L., Lazowski, R., Horst, S. J., & Barron, K. (2013, October) Faculty Attitudes towards Assessment. Section of a symposium presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. Rocky Hill, CT.

*Panizo, M. T., Kratz, J. A., Hart, V, & Horst, S. J. (2013, October). Non-cognitive Factors That Identify Academically At-Risk International Students. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. Rocky Hill, CT.

*Smith, K.L. (2013, October). Developing the Test of Ethical Reasoning via Classical Test Theory Analysis and Benson’s Validation Framework. Section of a symposium presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. RockyHill, CT.

*Smith, K.L., Fisher, R.C., Pinder, K.E., & Finney, S.J. (2013, October). Showcasing the Utility of Implementation Fidelity to Evaluate Educational Programming. Section of a symposium presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. Rocky Hill, CT.

*Socha, A., Swain, M. S., & Sundre, D. L. (2013, October). Do Examinees Want Their Scores? Investigating the Relationship between Feedback, Motivation, and performance in Low-Stakes Testing Contexts. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Northeastern Educational Research Association annual conference. Rocky Hill, CT

Sundre, D. L. (2013, October). Assessment in Higher Education: Meeting heightened demands for accountability, accreditation and transparency in the early 21st Century. Presentation at the American Evaluation Association Conference. Washington, DC.

Sundre, D.L. (2013, October). Deriving meaning from assessment tests and scores. Invited presentation for Virginia Community College System 2013 Institutional Effectiveness Summit. Richmond, VA.

Students offer their perspective of NERA:


Mary Johnston, 1st year doctoral student in the Assessment and Measurement PhD program:

NERA is an amazing conference that although small in size, makes a huge impact on its attendees. In addition to supporting and encouraging high-caliber research on a variety of topics, NERA creates a vibrant and interactive environment for all of its attendees by embracing and promoting values such as mentorship, scholarship, and collegiality. As a graduate student, being able to attend presentations and panels on a variety of topics presented by leaders in our field was motivating as well as educational. Moreover, having the chance to talk with several professionals working in a variety of settings and seeing the different career opportunities our field provides was very inspiring. Overall, NERA is a great conference and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this year. 

Kate Pinder, 1st year master’s student in the Psychological Sciences program:

NERA was a very rich experience.  As someone who is just getting into the field, NERA provided me with a great context for future research.  I was able to learn about intriguing new research topics, and have insightful discussions about the issues that plague education and educational research.  I was also able to present my own research, which was a really rewarding experience. Of course, the networking opportunities were great too! NERA is the ideal conference for making connections; it draws many leaders in the field, but it is still small enough to be personal.  I am thrilled I had the chance to attend this year and I’m already looking forward to NERA 2014!

Heather Harris, 1st year master’s student in the Psychological Sciences program:

As a first-time NERA attendee, I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived at the conference. Overall, it was a great opportunity to listen to prominent speakers and also make connections with individuals in the field. Perhaps my favorite part of attending NERA were the sessions targeted towards providing graduate students with feedback about areas of employment and the road ahead. I really appreciate how candid panel members were about their personal experiences and their recommendations for students to be successful in the future.