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Program Evaluation and Assessment

Program Evaluation and Assessment is housed within Quantitative Methods and Evaluation (QME). Evaluators must develop the expertise and adaptability to manage the complexities of research design encountered in evaluations. Assessment specialists must develop the expertise in psychometrics, statistical analysis, and in substantive disciplines, to develop and evaluate tests and assessments. These comes from a strong foundation in theory and methodology coupled with practical experience in real evaluation and assessment projects. Our students learn to apply theory and advanced methods in evaluation and assessment to educational programs, tests, and projects.

Focus of Study

The PhD in Program Evaluation and Assessment follows a similar course of study as QME. The core of the program is the study of rigorous methodologies appropriate for the varied approaches to educational research and development. Students learn a variety of research methods to be developed and applied in education, public policy, and other institutional and organizational settings. To earn a PhD in this program requires making a contribution to theory in quantitative methods or a contribution to the knowledge base through empirical evaluation inquiries.

The course of study for the doctorate includes three components:

Courses on evaluation and/or assessment models and methodologies.

Courses in education policy and related disciplines chosen by the student.

Apprenticeship experiences in real evaluation and/or assessment projects.

Program Structure

A sequence of introductory courses provides a foundation in educational research methodologies, assessment theory and practice, and evaluation theory and practice. In addition to these courses, students take more advanced courses in their QME area of concentration. Students are also encouraged to combine substantive educational topics with a variety of methodological topics, to provide a context for their methodological applications.

Program Evaluation and Assessment takes full advantage of the ongoing assessment and evaluation projects conducted by faculty at the School of Education and beyond. Funded apprenticeships and research assistantships are available for eligible students in a variety of areas. Many research projects on or near the campus require evaluation and assessment, and our students gain applied experience in the design, implementation, and analyses of these projects.

Entrance Requirements

This program is principally designed for students with a professional background in education who want to pursue careers as professional evaluators and assessment developers in the field of education. We encourage applicants with a mathematical, statistical, or computer data analysis background and an interest in education. We also encourage applicants with an education focus who want to develop their methodological skills for quantitative research and evaluation.

NOTE: Students who enter the PhD program without a master’s degree in an education-related field will need to fulfill the MA requirements along the way to the doctorate.

Type of Program (PhD)

This course of study leads to a doctoral degree in Education with an emphasis in Program Evaluation and Assessment.


Graduates are prepared for careers teaching evaluation, assessment, and research methods in university departments of education, as professional evaluators and assessment developers, and as consultants in program evaluation and assessment methodology.