Meet Our Students
educational research, measurement, and evaluation
The following bios from ERME master's and doctoral students give a quick glimpse at some of the research and employment opportunities students have in and outside of the program.
A selection of 2016-2017 Master’s students
(M.S. and M.Ed.):
I work as a graduate assistant at the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center. My focus is on assisting in the preparation of the PIRLS assessment. Preparation of such a large-scale assessment involves integrating data from field tests, receiving feedback from subject matter experts and research coordinators across the world, training scorers, and working with graphic designers. Each of these steps are critical to the development of an effective and useful measure. This position has allowed me to explore the fields of international research and literacy development while immersed in the day-to-day procedures involved in creating a large-scale assessment.
A selection of 2015-2016 PhD students:
I’m a second year doctoral student in the ERME program, working as a research assistant with professors Dr. Henry Braun and Dr. Laura O’Dwyer. With Dr. Braun, we are working on a policy paper about the role of dynamic complementarity in opportunities to accumulate relevant human capital and looking at persistence in the impacts of educational interventions. With Dr. O’Dwyer, we are working on the impact of the Transition to Algebra, a year-long course, by using a quasi-experimental pre-post research design, combined with propensity score analysis. My responsibilities for both of the projects mostly include analyzing data and reviewing the literature.
Prior to the ERME program, I worked as a measurement and evaluation specialist at Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey (TEGV) in Istanbul for three years. I conducted both quantitative and qualitative analyses to foster development of evidence-based programs, developed various measurement tools, and coordinated program and impact evaluation studies for education programs implemented across the country. My research interests mainly focus on impact evaluation, achievement data analysis, science assessment, large-scale assessment, and education policy.
I am a fourth year doctoral candidate in the ERME program and I work as the District Student Data Manager for the Newton Public Schools. In this role, I work collaboratively with other central departments and with school leaders to help answer questions using data and manage the assessments for the district. I also work collaboratively within my department to project future enrollment in the school system. My research interests are focused on how teachers use data to inform their classroom instruction, so this role has been a great opportunity for me. In my first two years of the program, I worked with Dr. Lowenhaupt in the Educational Leadership and Higher Education Department on a variety of projects that included both qualitative and quantitative components, which was a beneficial addition to my coursework. I also worked with the Director of Assessment and Accreditation at the Lynch School to analyze survey results for incoming and graduating students and alumni of the Lynch School. Prior to joining the ERME program, I worked as a Data Analyst for the Boston Public Schools in the Office of Data and Accountability and was previously a high school math teacher in the New York City Public Schools.
I am a doctoral candidate in my fifth year in the ERME program, and I work as Assistant Director for Questionnaire Development and Policy Studies at the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College.
Working at the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center has been an excellent fit for me. I coordinate the development of the context questionnaires for these assessments—a role that has included co-authoring the context questionnaire frameworks, developing questionnaire items and their associated scales, and analyzing the psychometric properties of these item response theory scales. I am also involved in the TIMSS reporting process, coordinating the exhibit development for the International Reports and editing the technical report, Methods and Procedures.
In addition to working at the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College, I have worked as a teaching assistant for the ERME courses Large Scale Assessment: Methods and Practice, taught by Professor Ina Mullis, Psychometrics I, taught by Professor Larry Ludlow, and Design of Experiments, taught by Professor Laura O’Dwyer. My research interests include large-scale assessment methodologies, psychometric theory, and quasi-experimental designs.
I am a 3rd year doctoral student in the ERME department, working as a research assistant for Dr. Zhushan Li. I have broad research interests in psychometrics and educational measurement, especially in differential item functioning (DIF). We are now working on anchor selection strategies in DIF analysis, including conducting a comprehensive literature review, running simulation studies comparing different approaches, and applying the optimal anchor selection method to real dataset. Also, I’m interested in different parameter estimation methods for IRT models, and the performance of unidimensional and multidimensional IRT models on large-scale assessment data.
I'm a second year doctoral student working as a graduate research assistant for City Connects at Boston College. The primary goal of City Connects is to examine and address out-of-school factors that impact student learning. As part of the research and evaluation team, my job is to assist in the cleaning, management, and analysis of educational data, helping senior quantitative analysts estimate the impacts of City Connects treatment effects on student outcomes. Additionally, my work as a graduate research assistant has allowed me to further develop strong syntax programming skills, as I frequently help oversee large datasets that require cleaning and merging. I develop syntax to transform scales, identify and correct problematic cases, and analyze missing data in order to then merge and create new datasets for analysis. I also work with a team of analysts to employ regression models using various software packages (e.g. Stata, SPSS, HLM). The research team and I are then responsible for reporting these results back to City Connects Leadership and team members, with the aim of supporting and informing evidence-based practice.
Jorge Alberto Mahecha Rodriguez
As a Ph.D student at ERME, I provide support to the Center for teaching Excellence (CTE) in the measurement and evaluation of educational innovations using technology. In particular, I support CTE personnel in research design issues, survey design and data analysis, both quantitative and qualitative. I am particularly interested in using of rigorous qualitative techniques (like Thematic Analysis), in combination with standard quantitative techniques in order to produce evaluative reports that are useful at guiding CTE personal and faculty in understanding how to improve educational innovations.
I have 18 years of professional experience in education; During this time I have served in several leadership, research, teaching and consultancy positions. I have a Masters in Curriculum and Teaching from Boston University and a Masters in Educational Administration from Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia, my native city. My professional interests include the improvement of educational quality in public schools, the professionalization of the School Teaching Profession and methodologies for Social Program Evaluation. I am a board member and co-founder of Teach for Colombia.
I am a 4th year doctoral candidate, working as a research assistant with Dr. Laura O'Dwyer. Over the past two years we have focused our work on evaluating a foreign language immersion program in a local elementary school, collaborating with a team in the Curriculum and Instruction department on a curriculum intervention in Boston Public Schools for English Language Learners, and serving as external evaluators for an NIH-funded career initiative at a local graduate institution. Through these projects I have had the opportunity to collaborate with different types of students, professors, and stakeholders, all the while using a wide array of statistical and research techniques - everything from classroom observations to multidimensional scaling. Now that I'm in my 4th year I am focusing more deeply on my dissertation interests in the education-career transition, and I look forward to drawing on the strategies and techniques I've learned in my assistantship experiences to help me along that journey.