James Madison University

Students Present at the Annual Meetings of AERA and NCME

Three Psychological Sciences students attended the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) annual conferences in New Orleans, LA on April 7th – 12th.

PHOTO: AERA and NCME Meetings

During this conference, the three currently-enrolled Psychological Sciences students presented a total of three posters and one paper. These papers were co-authored by current and former Psychological Sciences students and faculty.

Jurich, D.P.1, DeMars, C.E.2, & Goodman, J. T. (April, 2011) Investigating the Impact of Cheating on IRT Equating under the Non-equivalent Anchor Test Design.

Jurich, D. P.1 & Koepfler, J. R.3 (April, 2011) Applying Missing Data Techniques to the Treatment of Rapid Responding.

Kopp, J. P.1, Jurich, D. P.1, Goodman, J., Becker, K. (2011, April). An Application of
Assessment Engineering Methods to Item Families.

Smiley, W. F.1, Anderson, R. D.2 (2011, April) A Scale Validation Study on a Short Form of the Cognitive Engagement Scale.

  • 1 Psychological Sciences student
  • 2 Psychological Sciences faculty
  • 3 Former Psychological Sciences student

PHOTO: AERA and NCME Meetings

In addition to presenting their research, these students attended a number of conference sessions and workshops. Daniel Jurich attended a pre-conference workshop on diagnostic classification models, a cutting-edge technique in statistical modeling and test design.

Daniel Jurich: “The diagnostic classification modeling (DCM) workshop provided a rare opportunity to learn directly from the leaders in this burgeoning field. Taught by the coauthor of the seminal book in DCM (Dr. Jonathan Templin) and recently hired Assessment & Measurement faculty member (Dr. Laine Bradshaw), the workshop guided participants through the foundational theory behind these methods. This workshop also explored the various mathematical models available to practitioners, and demonstrated DCM’s utility through applications in realistic scenarios. I left the workshop with a new found skill-set in a novel and promising measurement technique.”

AERA provided a graduate student breakfast, where a number of professionals shared their insights on social networking and finding employment.

Jason Kopp: “The AERA graduate student breakfast was a great professional development opportunity. The breakfast panel, which included a Psychological Sciences faculty member (Dr. Dena Pastor) and Psychological Sciences alumni (Dr. Pamela Kaliski), provided a number of insights on professional networking, finding a job, and being a measurement professional. I was able to obtain a number of resources for finding a job in the future. Also, I made a number of contacts with the panel members and with other graduate students that will be invaluable in my future career.”

The students also attended a panel discussion by top leaders in the field of structural equation modeling, including JMU’s Dr. Deborah Bandalos.

Jason Kopp: “Attending the structural equation modeling panel discussion on measurement invariance was one of the high points of AERA/NCME. Measurement invariance is a technique by which test-makers determine whether a test can measure an attribute equivalently across different groups. We were able to listen to experts share their thoughts on potential issues with the technique, as well as new applications. As I had focused on measurement invariance for my master’s thesis, it was greatly informative to gain insights from leaders in the field.”

Daniel Jurich and Whitney Smiley spoke to their overall experience at the conferences.

Daniel Jurich:“The AERA and NCME conferences were wonderful academic and professional experiences. These conferences provided us an opportunity to observe prolific researchers discuss and debate foundational aspects of measurement, such as validity theory. AERA/NCME also offered us the opportunity to present our research directly to respected researchers and fellow graduate students. These discussions generated feedback that will prove invaluable in refining and expanding our current research. In addition, AERA and NCME offered a plethora of professional development and networking opportunities. These opportunities not only allowed us to make connections with potential employers but also provided insight on the vast array of employment areas available, from testing companies to grant-funded military research. In all, the conference instilled me with a strong sense of appreciation for the measurement field, the progress we have made, and the challenges awaiting us.”

Whitney Smiley: AERA/NCME was not only a phenomenal academic experience but a great opportunity to develop professionally. It is great for a student who has a wide range of interests. In addition to fostering my academic interests, it was also great to meet and network with other students and professionals who are interested in the same topics. I was able to learn about the array of positions that I could possibly enter and how to look for jobs in the future. Probably the most fruitful experience I gained from this conference was the opportunity to share my research, which allowed me to get new perspectives and discuss my ideas with leaders in the field.”