College of Education’s Cohen named Aderhold Professor in Research Methodology

Athens, Ga. – Allan S. Cohen, professor of educational psychology and director of two major assessment and research centers in the University of Georgia College of Education has been named the Omer Clyde and Elizabeth Parr Aderhold Professor in Research Methodology.

Cohen, who directs both the Georgia Center for Assessment and the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Education and Human Development, is an expert in educational measurement, item response theory, test development and applied statistics.

His research focuses on examining methodological issues in educational measurement primarily with respect to applications in test development. This includes problems dealing with the construction and maintenance of achievement tests; equating, detection of item bias and estimation of item parameters under item response theory; and standard setting.

Cohen joined the UGA faculty in 2003 as a professor and director of the Georgia Center for Assessment. The center’s major activities involve contracts with the Georgia Department of Education to support the Writing Assessments, High School Graduation Test and the Georgia Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills. Writing tests are given in grades three, five, eight and 11; the Grade 11 test is part of the HSGT. The multiple choice portion of the HSGT covers language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

The GCA assists local school districts in preparing their students for these statewide tests by providing Supplementary Writing Assessments at the elementary, middle and high school levels, and a Predictor Test for the HSGT in science and social studies.

The GCA provides research and measurement services to several local schools districts, including Clarke, Cobb, Gwinnett and Cherokee counties, and education agencies such as the Southern Regional Education Board.

GCA researchers have been awarded several million dollars in federal grants for innovative research in assessment. Many of these projects have generated important technical reports and research papers to study new statistical methods in assessment. Earlier this spring, a team of UGA education researchers, including Cohen, received a national award for the development of a new statistical method for measuring the growth of students’ problem-solving skills in mathematics.

This new method enables researchers to measure both the different ways that students can reason about individual questions on a mathematics test and their overall growth in mathematics ability.

The researchers were named recipients of the 2011 Award for an Outstanding Example of an Application of Educational Measurement Technology to a Specific Problem from the National Council on Measurement in Education for their work.

Prior to coming to UGA, Cohen was an associate professor of educational psychology and director of the University of Wisconsin System Center for Placement Testing from1990 to 2003 and director of the University of Wisconsin System Office of Testing and Evaluation Services from 1979 to 2003, both at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Omer Clyde and Elizabeth Parr Aderhold Professorship in Research Methodology was established with funds in a gift bequest from the estate of former dean of the College of Education (1947-50) and UGA President O. C. Aderhold (1950-67). The estate gift also will fund a second professorship in the college at a later date.

Cohen joins four other endowed professors at the college:

Michael Hannifan, The Charles H. Wheatley-Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Technology-Enhanced Learning;Pedro Portes, The Goizueta Foundation Distinguished Chair of Latino Teacher Education;Mark Runco, The E. Paul Torrance Professor of Creative Studies and Gifted Education; and,Cynthia Dillard, The Mary Frances Early Professor of Teacher Education.

Searches also are under way for two more endowed professorships in the college:

The Elizabeth Garrard Hall Professorship in Early Childhood Education
The UGA Athletic Association Professor in Mathematics and Science Education

For more information regarding the UGA College of Education and the Georgia Center for Assessment, see www.coe.uga.edu/gca/.For more information about the Institutefor Interdisciplinary Research in Education and Human Development, see www.coe.uga.edu/research/the-institute/.