OAERS

People of OAERS

John Willse, Psy.D.

OAERS Director

Dr. John Willse is Associate Professor of the Department of Educational Research Methodology at UNCG and Director of OAERS. He received his Psy.D. in Assessment and Measurement from James Madison University, M.A. in General Psychology from JMU, and B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia. He teaches courses in educational statistics, psychometrics, and statistical modeling. Most of Dr. Willse’s current research involves several approaches to latent trait modeling (e.g., structural equation modeling, item response theory, diagnostic classification, and mixture measurement models), and focuses on identifying the appropriateness of different methodologies for detecting group differences and student mastery given specific data structures. He has served as a methodologist on several long-term grants focusing on the evaluation educational systems and the development of assessment instruments.

Devdass Sunnassee, Ph.D.

OAERS Supervisor

Dr. Devdass Sunnassee is currently Assistant Clinical Professor of the Department of Educational Research Methodology at UNCG. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Research and Measurement from UNCG, and holds an M.S. degree in Applied Mathematics from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University. Dr. Sunnassee has extensive experience as an educator, data analyst and researcher. His particular areas of specialization include measurement methods (classical test theory, test equating, item response theory), experimental design, sampling designs, and categorical data analysis. Before joining UNCG, he spent nearly twenty years teaching advanced Mathematics and Physics to under-served students at the High School level and Early College/Pre-University level.

Terry Ackerman, Ph.D.

OAERS Senior Fellow

Dr. Terry Ackerman is currently Professor of the Department of Educational Research Methodology and Associate Dean of Research and Assessment in the School of Education at UNCG. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Research and Measurement from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Prior to joining the faculty at UNCG, Dr. Ackerman served as a psychometrician at the American College Testing, Inc. and Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Ackerman specializes in measurement, psychometrics, and item responses theory, and is a leading expert in the area of multidimensional item response theory. He has held numerous leadership roles in the fields of assessment and measurement, including President of the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), Chair of the U.S. Department of Defense Advisory Committee, member of the Psychometric Oversight Committee for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and member of the GRE Technical Advisory Committee.

Ayesha Boyce, Ph.D.

OAERS Senior Fellow

Dr. Ayesha Boyce is Assistant Professor of the Department of Educational Research Methodology at UNCG (beginning August 1, 2015). Dr. Boyce received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Evaluation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014. Dr. Boyce gained extensive evaluation experience at the Illinois Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Initiative where she evaluated programs funded by the National Science Foundation, including two Science and Technology Centers, one Center for Chemical Innovation, one Network for Computational Nanotechnology Node, eight Research Experiences for Undergraduates programs, two Research Experiences for Teachers programs, and three Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships. She has also evaluated programs funded by the National Institutes of Health, Arizona Department of Education, Title VI, Illinois P-20 Council, and Spencer and Teagle foundations. Her research interests focus on addressing value stances and issues related to diversity, equity, access, climate, and cultural responsiveness while judging the quality of implementation, effectiveness, impact, and institutionalization of educational programs, department initiatives, and policies—especially those that are multi-site and/or STEM. Additionally, Dr. Boyce conducts applied program evaluation studies to positively impact and unearth best practices in education training programs.

Micheline Chalhoub-Deville, Ph.D.

OAERS Senior Fellow

Dr. Micheline Chalhoub-Deville is currently Professor of the Department of Educational Research Methodology at UNCG and Co-Director of the Coalition for Diverse Language Communities. She received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Dr. Chalhoub-Deville started her professional career at the University of Minnesota as the Assessment Manager on federally-funded projects and then joined the University of Iowa as an Assistant Professor and moved up in the ranks and attained the rank of Full Professor. Dr. Chalhoub-Deville specializes in language testing, and has conducted research and development of foreign/second language proficiency-based assessments, computer adaptive systems, and academic English language tests for students in U.S. schools. Through this work she has published numerous book chapters, refereed journal articles, technical reports, and edited volumes. In recognition of her contributions to the field of language testing, Dr. Chalhoub-Deville was awarded the International Language Testing Association Award for Best Article published in the field of language testing and the Outstanding Young Scholar Award by the Educational Testing Service—TOEFL Program.

Jill Chouinard, Ph.D.

OAERS Senior Fellow

Dr. Jill Chouinard is currently Assistant Professor of the Department of Educational Research Methodology at UNCG. She received her Ph.D. in organizational studies and evaluation from the University of Ottawa in 2010. Her main interests are in cross-cultural/culturally response evaluation, qualitative research and participatory research and evaluation. Given her interest in utilizing evaluation as a leverage for social change, her research also focuses on the relationship between evaluation and public policy. Dr. Chouinard has extensive experience working on evaluations at the community level in the areas of education and training, social services, health, and organizational learning and change.  Her research and academic writing focuses on participatory approaches to evaluation in culturally diverse community settings, both from a national and international perspective. Her research has been published in North American and International journals, including in the American Journal of Evaluation, Evaluation, New Directions for Evaluation and Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability and Pedagogia Social Revista Interuniversitaria.

Dr. Holly Downs, Ph.D.

OAERS Senior Fellow

Dr. Holly A. Downs is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of the Department of Educational Research Methodology and Senior Evaluator with the Center for Creative Leadership. She completed her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Downs specializes in the areas of program evaluation and mixed methodology. Her current scholarly interests include the theory and practice of mixed methods evaluation of K-16 programs, particularly those in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, delivered via online, hybrid, and traditional learning environments. She teaches graduate courses in evaluation theory, applied evaluation practice, and case study.

Bob Henson, Ph.D.

OAERS Senior Fellow

Dr. Bob Henson is currently Associated Professor of the Department of Educational Research Methodology at UNCG. He received an M.S. in Statistics and a Ph.D. in Quantitative Psychology, both from the University of Illinois. Dr. Henson specializes in multivariate statistical methods and cognitive diagnosis models (also called diagnostic classification models). His research focuses on the theoretical development of cognitive diagnosis models, their estimation, and the didactic dissemination of these models. Dr. Henson is the co-author of the book Diagnostic Assessment: Methods, Theory, and Applications, for which he received the 2013 AERA Division D Award for Significant Contributions to Educational Measurement and Research Methodology. Dr. Henson has served as an investigator and consultant to numerous federally funded research projects.

Ric Luecht, Ph.D.

OAERS Senior Fellow

Dr. Ric Luecht is Professor of the Department of Educational Research Methodology at UNCG. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Research and Measurement from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Prior to joining the faculty at UNCG, Dr. Luecht was the Director for Computerized Adaptive Testing Research and Senior Psychometrician at the National Board of Medical Examiners. Dr. Luecht specializes in measurement and assessment, and is the architect of a new approach to large-scale formative assessment design and implementation called Assessment Engineering (AE). He has played instrumental roles in the implementation of the computer-based testing systems for several large-scale testing programs, and has served as technical advisor for many state testing agencies and large-scale testing organizations, including the PARCC Consortium, The College Board, Educational Testing Service, The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, GED Testing Service, The Defense Language Institute, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Randy Penfield, Ph.D.

OAERS Senior Fellow

Dr. Randy Penfield is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Research Methodology at UNCG. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Statistics and Measurement from the University of Toronto. He specializes in quantitative methods, measurement, and the use of item response theory models to solve practical problems in assessment. Much of his research focuses on the study of measurement invariance and measurement models for polytomous items. In recognition of his high level of research productivity, Dr. Penfield was awarded the 2005 Jason Millman Promising Measurement Scholar Award by the National Council on Measurement in Education, and is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. He has served as Co-PI of, and consultant to, a wide range of federally funded projects in which he oversaw measurement and statistical components of the projects.