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Assistant professor earns national award

December 10, 2007

Joanna Gorin, assistant professor of psychology in education with the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education, has received the 2007 Jason Millman Promising Measurement Scholar Award for her research on the intersection of cognitive psychology and psychometrics.

The award, presented by the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), recognizes scholars at the early stages of their careers whose research has the potential to make a major contribution to the applied measurement field.

“The award committee and I feel that Dr. Gorin’s work on the integration of cognitive models with measurement in education is an outstanding example of this type of potential,” says Daniel Eignor, NCME president.

Gorin’s teaching and research focus on fair and equitable educational practices, particularly the informed use of educational assessment. She has specialized in cognitive-psychometric analysis of standardized test data, and basic measurement and statistical training for non-quantitative educators and students.

“The important question we hope to answer with educational tests is, ‘What do students know?’ ” Gorin says. “I have explored how principles of cognitive psychology can provide a strong theoretical basis for examination of test score meaning on standardized measures of reading comprehension.”

Gorin says greater understanding of reading assessment will challenge assumptions about the meaning of reading comprehension test scores and design of test items.

“I am excited to see what the future may bring and look forward to contributing to innovations in this area,” says Gorin, who joined ASU in 2002 after completing her doctorate in psychology from the University of Texas.

She recently created the Psychometric Testing and Eye-Tracking Laboratory at ASU to collect experimental data on standardized testing items, including digital eye-tracking data, verbal protocols and survey data. These augment the traditional information available for item difficulty modeling and diagnostic score reporting.

Current projects include the investigation of item generation for reading comprehension assessment, validation of cognitive models of verbal reasoning with visual eye-trackers and cognitive diagnostic modeling of international mathematics items.

“Joanna Gorin is a valuable member of our Division,” says Sam Green, a professor and interim director of the Division of Psychology and Education within the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education. “In her research, she critically evaluates the current status of educational measurement and its underlying assumptions and offers methods to improve how we assess student performance. I was excited to see NCME recognize her work in that it is interdisciplinary, spanning cognitive psychology, technology and educational measurement. With the increasing importance of educational measurement, it is important to have faculty like Joanna in the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education.”

Verina Martin, (480) 965-4911