Professionals who test and measure the academic success of students in a particular school or region can come from a variety of educational backgrounds. Some schools offer entire master's degree programs dedicated to education testing and evaluation. Doctoral programs related to the field can also prepare graduates to teach at the collegiate level, work in data research, or become educational psychologists.
Master's Degree in Education Testing and Evaluation
A master's degree program in educational testing and evaluation provides students with quantitative methods and statistical capabilities for educational measurement and research. Both non-thesis and thesis programs offer the required conceptual and technical background. Thesis programs address the requirements of students who plan on pursuing doctoral degrees in the field. Students may enroll in relevant master's degree programs in which titles include subjects like measurement, evaluation or statistics.
Students applying to master's degree programs in education testing and evaluation are typically required to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, and a specific undergraduate major may not be necessary. A grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 may also be required for admission to a master's degree program.
Courses in evaluation, measurement and statistics may be combined with related courses in computer programming, educational psychology or program evaluation. Programs may include a comprehensive examination at the end of the coursework. Typical courses include:
- Educational research
- Educational evaluation
- Evaluation instruments
- Educational measurement law
- Reliability and validity
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Ph.D. Program in Education Testing and Evaluation
Ph.D. programs provide students with the additional expertise to teach at colleges and universities, to be leaders in research environments and to pursue upper-level professional positions.
Requirements for graduate school admissions often include a bachelor's degree, minimum GPA, hard-copy transcripts, and letters of reference. A preliminary examination may be required for entrance into some programs. Others may require a period of on-campus residency.
Programs are typically tailored to address the backgrounds and career aspirations of the individual. Some concentration options include educational policy and leadership, mathematical statistics and educational psychology. The degree requires a thesis and comprehensive examination. Courses may include:
- Statistical methods
- Design and implementation of policy
- Regression analysis
- Data analysis
- Structure models
Popular Career Options
Career opportunities for professional education evaluation positions are found in a variety of education-related environments including:
- Large school districts
- Colleges and universities
- Private testing businesses
- Educational research facilities
- State and federal government
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Some jobs available in educational evaluation include academic evaluator, institutional effectiveness evaluator, director of education, R & D planning director, quantitative and measurement psychologist and educational psychologist. The American Psychological Association reports that psychologists with a solid foundation in computer science and quantitative research methods may have an advantage in finding work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists working within the industrial-organizational psychologists category have the following mean salaries: $81,190 for those in higher education, $89,320 for those in scientific research and development services and $95,060 for consultants in management, scientific and technical services (www.bls.gov).
Numerous post-baccalaureate certificate programs are available to educators and professionals who want to obtain this expertise. Some certificates can be earned in conjunction with a graduate degree such as a Ph.D., while others may be pursued independently without the longer degree program of study. Typical certificate programs include assessment, program evaluation, measurement, policy studies, statistics and research methods.
Degrees in education testing and evaluation are generally offered at the master's and doctoral level and provide students with advanced training and knowledge to be successful in a number of industries, including private business industry, state and federal government, and higher education.