Educational Research and Evaluation (Ph.D.)
Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus
Northern Virginia Campus (Introductory Course Sequence Only)
Instructions: Residential/On Campus
Online (Two 5000-level EDRE Courses)
The Educational Research and Evaluation program is committed to achieving excellence in research and teaching. We specialize in research methodology, as it relates to education, the behavioral sciences, and the social sciences in general, and emphasize the areas of evaluation/assessment, qualitative methods, and quantitative methods (i.e., applied statistics and measurement).
Focus Area Options
Ph.D. Degrees Awarded Since 1971
Up to 3
Years of Graduate Assistantship Support
Graduates Employed within 6 Months of Graduation
The Educational Research and Evaluation Program
Methodologists specialize in specific research methodologies. Their work normally includes using specific research methodologies to conduct empirical research, advancing existing research methodologies, and developing new, cutting-edge research methodologies. EDRE faculty and students conduct methodological and other applied research on issues in education, the behavioral sciences, and the social sciences in general. EDRE faculty also provide methodological and other forms of research expertise to other faculty and students in the School of Education, including serving on master's thesis and doctoral dissertation committees and teaching courses in the areas of evaluation/assessment, qualitative methods, and quantitative methods (i.e., applied statistics and measurement).
Why Study Educational Research and Evaluation Here?
The Educational Research and Evaluation program is a comprehensive Ph.D. program that prepares students for high-demand careers as research methodologists in a wide range of settings that include academia, higher education, state or federal government agencies, the testing industry and other private sector organizations, and nonprofit organizations. The methodological areas of evaluation/assessment, qualitative methods, and quantitative methods (i.e., applied statistics and measurement) are emphasized, and the program includes faculty who have expertise in each of these areas. One of the priorities of the program is to maintain an optimal balance between theory and practice, so that students develop a strong theoretical foundation and gain extensive knowledge and experience in using a variety of methodological concepts and techniques to address research issues in education and the social sciences in general. The program is also committed to providing students with a high level of mentoring, which includes enriching opportunities to be involved in program faculty members’ research and other research in the School of Education or other parts of the university.
What You'll Study
Students in the EDRE program have the opportunity to choose one of four focus areas: evaluation/assessment, measurement, qualitative methods, or statistics. All of the focus areas also share a common core of research methods courses.
The evaluation/assessment focus area includes coursework and other experiences that prepare students to understand the theoretical foundations of evaluation and assessment research, effectively design research and instruments, effectively use a variety of data collection methods, effectively use a variety of data analysis methods, and develop high quality research reports.
The measurement focus area includes coursework and other experiences that prepare students to understand and apply classical test theory and item response theory; conduct psychometric analyses, including equating, differential item functioning, and standard setting; conduct psychometric research; develop educational and psychological tests; and develop validation plans for educational and psychological tests.
The qualitative methods focus area includes coursework and other experiences that prepare students to understand and use a variety of qualitative research methodologies, understand the theoretical foundations of qualitative research, develop sound qualitative research designs, effectively use a variety of data collection methods, effectively use a variety of data analysis methods, effectively use a variety of writing formats and writing practices to report findings, and evaluate qualitative research using appropriate criteria.
The statistics focus area includes coursework and other experiences that prepare students to conduct research using advanced statistical methodologies that include multilevel, longitudinal, structural equation, and latent variable models; conduct research to develop cutting-edge methodologies or to apply existing methodologies in innovative ways; effectively evaluate the quality of quantitative research; develop quantitative research designs that are sound in terms of validity, reliability, sample size, and statistical power; effectively present data using data visualization tools such as plots, charts, graphs, and figures; and develop high quality, professional quantitative journal articles and other research reports.
Career Opportunities for EDRE Graduates
The doctoral program in Educational Research and Evaluation (EDRE) provides students with the opportunity to develop methodological expertise in a wide range of areas including the development and application of statistical methods in educational and social scientific research, the development and evaluation of psychoeducational instruments, and the design and conduct of various forms of qualitative research, mixed methods research, or evaluation/assessment research. Thus, the EDRE program prepares students to function as methodologists in a wide variety of settings such as academic positions in education, psychology, or applied statistics; positions in the testing industry (e.g., ETS, ACT, CTB, Pearson); evaluation and assessment positions in higher education; or state- or federal-level government positions that involve program evaluation, data analysis, instrument development, and/or survey administration.
To learn more about the career opportunities that are available to EDRE graduates, visit the following web sites and complete a search using the appropriate keywords (e.g., measurement, psychometric, statistic, program evaluation, qualitative, research).
- Chronicle of Higher Education
- American Educational Research Association
- National Council on Measurement in Education
Central to the mission of the Educational Research and Evaluation program is a commitment to achieving excellence in teaching, research, and service to various communities. The program emphasizes high quality teaching and learning and is aimed at preparing students to achieve success in their professional lives and to be active contributors to the academic community. The program is also committed to fostering the highest quality research and other scholarly work in its faculty and students. It also strives to provide methodological and other research expertise, as well as other forms of service, that effectively meet the needs of the School of Education, other parts of the university community, and the broader community. Also, in each facet of its mission, the EDRE program embraces a respect for, and a commitment to, diversity in its various forms.
This degree program is offered on the Blacksburg campus. The Blacksburg campus offers students the full services of the university, including an extensive library, technology support, and the Graduate Life Center. The introductory course sequence can also be taken at the Northern Virginia campus. Two 5000-level EDRE courses are offered online.
- Item Response Theory
- Test Development and Validation
- Qualitative Methodology
- Post-Qualitative Inquiry
- Social Psychology of Education
- Group Processes in Education Settings
- Multilevel Modeling
- Growth Modeling / Longitudinal Data Analysis
- Reliability and Meta-analysis Model for Reliability Coefficients
- Multilevel Measurement Model
- Multilevel Factor Model
- Latent Class Analysis
- Test Validation
- Statistics Education
- Assessment methods in Higher Education
- Program evaluation methods
- Remote sensing methods in social science and education
- Learning Environments
- International Higher Education
Educational Research and Evaluation Research Highlights
Student Publications in Peer-Reviewed Journals
Galeshi, R., & Skaggs, G. (2015). Traditional fit indices utility in a new psychometric model: Cognitive diagnostic model. International Journal of Quantitative Research in Education, 2(2), 113-132.
Gregory, C., & Miyazaki, Y. (2016). Multilevel analysis of student civics knowledge scores. The Journal of Educational Research, 1-15.
Long, T. C., & Miyazaki, Y. (2016). Longitudinal analysis of the impact of students’ participation in athletics on academic and affective outcomes. Educational Practice & Reform, 2, 44-68.
Miyazaki, Y., & Stack, M. (2015). Examining individual and school characteristics associated with child obesity using a multilevel growth model. Social Science & Medicine, 128, 57-66.
Student Papers Presented at Academic Conferences
Gregory, C., & Miyazaki, Y. (2016, April). A cross-national study of civic knowledge test scores. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Research Association, Washington, D.C.
Mutcheson, B., & Skaggs, G. (2016). Supporting teacher evaluation implementation using cognitive diagnostic modeling. Roundtable presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Educational Research Association, Hilton Head, SC.
Norris, M., & Skaggs, G. (2016). Determining the diagnostic properties of the Force Concept Inventory. Electronic poster presentation at the Annual Meeting of the National Council on Measurement in Education, Washington, DC.
Stack, M., & Miyazaki, Y. (2016, April). Multilevel analysis of BMI growth trajectories of US school children: Features and risk factors. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Washington, D.C.
Those who are interested in applying to the Ph.D. program in Educational Research and Evaluation should contact Dr. Gary Skaggs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit our office at Room 2104, Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech,
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Domestic Application Deadline
Spring: January 1
Summer: May 1
*Fall: August 1
International Application Deadline
Spring: September 1
*Fall: April 1
*Deadline for early decision admission with full funding consideration for Fall: February 1
School of Education
226 War Memorial Hall (0313)
370 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061