Friday, October 08, 2010

Professionals Sharing Knowledge

My summer internship at Pearson in San Antonio, Texas, has been a rewarding experience. I worked along side exceptional individuals and gained valuable experience. In addition, I developed new friendships.

Over the eight weeks, I worked primarily on a research project that dealt with the selection of common items in creating a vertical scale. The study investigated how decisions such as the structure of a common-item design, the composition of the common-item set, and the procedure used for selecting stable common items impact the nature of students’ growth from grade to grade. I learned a great deal from my mentors, Michael J. Young and Qing Yi. They taught me how to conceptualize research ideas while using available data. We submitted a proposal of this study for the 2011 National Council on Measurement Education annual conference. As well, this study set the foundation for what I hope will become my dissertation.

I attended regular training seminars and skill-enrichment meetings. Attending these seminars and meetings helped me to further develop my skills with psychometric software programs (e.g., WINSTEPS and SAS training) and recognize how those skills are applied in practice. Also, I broadened my understanding of the current issues in the field of educational measurement (e.g., consequential validity). As I listened and observed, I appreciated learning how serious Pearson research scientists are about their work.

From time to time, I participated in discussions with research scientists and received instruction from them about relevant topics related to psychometrics (e.g., test construction, simulation, equating, dimensionality). Given their busy schedule, they were very accommodating. I would like to express my gratitude to those individuals who took the time to share their knowledge with me, namely Allen Lau, Marc Johnson, Tim O’Neil, Kwang-lee Chu, Thanh Nguyen, Hua Wei, and Daeryong Seo.

Some of the more memorable moments were simply conversing with everyone in the department. Thanks to Agnes Stephenson, Mark Robeck, Serena Lin, Toby Parker, and Stephen Jirka for making me feel welcome and a very special thank-you to Dee Heiligmann and David Shin for looking after me!

For those future fellows, my suggestion would be to take advantage of the vast knowledge and resources available to you and your internship will surely surpass your expectations.

Assunta Hardy
Psychometric Intern
Test, Measurement & Research Services

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