Americans like to think about their country as the leader of the world. In many ways, this is true. We have a huge economy, powerful military, and many of our cultural institutions – from social media platforms to movies – influence billions of people. But when you look at test scores, American students aren’t even close.
For all of our wealth and expertise, we still struggle to educate our students well. Take, for example, the math, science, and literacy scores of high schoolers: 24th, 21st, and 15th, respectively, compared to high schoolers around the world. Every day, approximately 7,000 high school students drop out of school. And out of 36 industrialized countries, we rank right in the middle of the pack – 12th place – for percentage of adults with college degrees.
For sure, we’re going to need reform and improvement at every level if we’re going to get better results. But you might be reading these statistics and wondering, “How do they measure these results?” If so, you might be the perfect person to get a master’s degree in Educational Assessment, Measurement, and Evaluation.
So, what exactly is this degree? According to one university that offers it, the degree “serves teachers and administrators seeking applied measurement, research, and evaluation skills for use in PK-12 and higher education, as well as professionals seeking careers in the areas of evaluation, research, and psychometrics.”
Let’s break that down. Imagine you’re a principal of a school. You want to know how the students at your school are doing – over the past five years, has each class of students been getting better at math? If so, by how much? These are important questions, but you’re also busy balancing the school’s budget, training new teachers, meeting with concerned parents, and disciplining unruly kids. You don’t have the time or expertise to design a research project to measure the math skills of the students at your school. That’s where an expert in assessment, measurement, and evaluation comes in.
With this degree, you may find yourself as an administrator or teacher leader in a school, on staff at a college or university, a researcher for a school district, or in any number of other positions in the public or private sector that deals with education. There are more than you think!
Whatever the case, a master’s degree will help you immensely. You’ll take classes in research methodology, statistical analysis, program evaluation, assessment, and psychometrics. You get to combine psychology, educational theory, and statistics in order to quantify and measure just how much students are learning.