The education field offers lucrative career options for those passionate about research and leveraging technology to improve educational quality nationwide. The field of educational assessment exists to help schools reach benchmarks for educational quality on the local, state, and federal levels. One of the best paths to this field is through pursuing an online master's in educational assessment.
Read on for our guide on what to expect from an online educational assessment degree in terms of required coursework, career paths, and postgraduation professional resources.
Overview of an Online Master's Program in Educational Assessment
While course offerings vary across programs, students in an online master's in educational assessment program generally get exposure to concepts and topics such as research methodology in education. The following list represents typical course offerings for educational assessment master's programs.
Common Classes and Coursework
Technology and Education
The course investigates how educators and specialists can employ technology as an educational tool in educational assessment. Topics include technology distractions, Internet security, accessibility for differently-abled students, and others. Students leave the course prepared to leverage digital media and other tools in in-person, blended and fully online teaching environments.
This course familiarizes learners with differentiated instruction theory, which helps teachers adapt to the unique needs of students with different learning strategies or cultural backgrounds in an otherwise typical classroom. Graduates learn to experiment with different teaching strategies while monitoring their peers evaluations as well as their own self-evaluations.
K-12 Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for Learning
Students learn to successfully integrate instruction, curriculum, and assessment for learning in K-12 classrooms. Topics include knowing when to use formative and summative assessment methods along with the advantages and drawbacks of each. This foundational course for K-12 educators and specialists teaches students how to align standards for designing and delivering educational activities with assessment standards.
School and Family Relations
The course explores how family and other community relationships impact learning in K-12 learners. Learners learn to navigate parent conferencing, community networking, and other skills. Educators and specialists need these crucial social and organizational behavior skills in order to positively impact their community, help students learn, and give a professional appearance to their employers.
Research Design in Education
Students prepare for their capstone or research seminar with this course, which gives an overview of the research process and methods in education research. The course may require statistics as a prerequisite. Topics may include quantitative, qualitative, or mixed research methods for data collection, along with evaluation strategies and methodology.
Skills You Will Gain
An online master's in educational assessment teaches a range of skills you can apply in diverse career paths. Educational assessment majors develop strong skills in teaching and learning from others from extensive field experiences. In order to successfully assess the efficacy of different programs and methodologies, they need a strong foundation of theoretical and practical knowledge on how people learn. These skills can apply to a career as either as an educator or assessment specialist.
These majors develop strong skills in collecting and analyzing data. Educational assessment programs strongly emphasize quantitative research skills and require prerequisite coursework in applied statistics to make sure specialists know how to collect information and draw conclusions from it. Their data handling skills help them develop and realistically adjust goals for colleges, universities, or other organizations based on available information.
An educational assessment degree acquaints graduates with the complex network of standards for education at the local, state, and federal level. With this knowledge, they can help schools and other organizations develop goals that comply with established benchmarks for success. Graduates leave with better critical thinking and problem solving skills on how to integrate standards for quality education from the local up to the federal level.
Average Degree Length
Several important factors can affect the length of your online master's in educational assessment degree. The typical master's program in this major takes around 40-60 semester credits to complete, and three main time tables exist for completing these credits:
1-2 courses per semester. 3-4 years to graduate.
3-4 courses per semester. Generally 2 years to graduate.
4+ courses per semester. 1-2 years to graduate.
Many nontraditional and returning learners may opt for the part-time schedule so they can better juggle obligations such as work and family. Recent graduates who hold a bachelor's degree may prefer to take a full-time course load so they can transition directly into a job requiring a master's. Learners with limited time and budget may prefer an accelerated-pace program, where they can earn their degree in as little as a year.
How to Find a Top Program
Along with merits such as affordability and flexibility, overall educational quality is a prime concern when looking for a program worthy of our time and money. The following list discusses several signifiers of quality that you should keep in mind when comparing and contrasting educational assessment programs.
High Graduation Rates
Look into the graduation rates for the program. If a program has low graduation rates, this could reflect factors like required courses not being offered frequently enough or faculty not fulfilling their instructive duties in the classroom. High graduation rates, however, usually reflect that the program is committed to students' needs.
Prioritize programs from schools with regional accreditation. Regional accreditation ensures that, should you choose to transfer, the next school will likely accept your credits taken towards the major.
Integrated with Teaching Licensure
Most states require education assessment specialists to hold teacher licensure. You want to pick an education assessment program either tailoring to teachers or integrated with a teacher preparation program.
Strong Research Component
A quality educational assessment program contains a strong research component. Check to see if the research component draws upon a field experience or culminates with you presenting a capstone or long form essay.
Diverse Elective Options
Look whether a prospective program features a variety of electives. Diverse electives allow you to customize your degree to your specific areas of interest and career plans.
Educational Assessment Careers After Earning Your Master's
Educational assessment master's graduates enter the professional world with a range of career options from which to choose. Some may work as secondary-level teachers, while others may move on to tackle a doctoral degree in the hope of finding work in academia as a director of admissions or assessment and accreditation.
Others find work as market research analysts in a range of industries, where their passion for using data to solve problems can help them advance professionally. Some educational assessment majors also end up working in specialized industries such as psychometry, where a background in assessment can come in handy when combined with graduate work in psychology.
Psychometricians design and administer materials for assessing people's psychological attributes. These specialists usually hold at least one graduate degree in a relevant field, and a master's in educational assessment intersects with their work.
Average Annual Salary: $82,358
Research analysts collect and draw meaningful conclusions from data on behalf of their employers, generally with a specific initiative, such as assessing educational quality, in mind. They usually hold at least a master's.
Average Annual Salary: $54,507
Director of Assessment and Accreditation
Directors of assessment and accreditation conduct research at colleges and universities assessing student learning, monitoring compliance with local, state, and federal standards for assessment and accreditation. Typically, they hold at least a master's degree.
Average Annual Salary: $75,531
Postsecondary teachers educate the next generation at public and private colleges and universities. Though tenured professors usually hold a Ph.D., master's graduates can find work adjuncting or teaching as instructors. A master's degree in educational assessment can serve as a useful stepping stone to earning your Ph.D. in an education-related field.
Average Annual Salary: $49,466
A director of admissions oversees the student admissions and recruitment decisions and goals of their school's admissions team. These administrators usually hold at least a master's, but oftentimes a doctoral degree helps.
Average Annual Salary: $57,227
Additional Certifications for Educational Assessment
No widely-accepted professional credential exists for the educational assessment field. However, most states require educational assessment specialists working in schools to hold teaching licensure. If you wish to work in an assessment-related field such as psychometry or market research analysis, some well-known certifications exist that can lead to professional advancement and greater salary potential.
Many educational assessment programs lead to teaching licensure, as many educational assessment professionals start their careers as teachers. Requirements for teaching licensure vary from state to state, but most states require at least a bachelor's degree from a program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation offered at a regionally accredited school.
Certified Research Analyst (CRA)
The International Institute for Procurement and Market Research (IIPMR) offers professional certification for research analysts, a common career path for education assessment majors. Candidates complete the 80-hour, 93-module training program online and pay a certification fee of $500. It typically takes candidates 2-4 months to complete the program.
Certified Specialist in Psychometry (CSP)
The Board of Certified Psychometrists (BCP) offers professional certification in psychometry. The test for board certification consists of 130-140 multiple choice questions that candidates must complete within 150 minutes. The board counts a 70% score as a pass. The test-taking time and site coincide with the National Association of Psychometrists (NAP) annual conference.
Professional Organizations & Resources for Educational Assessment Students
Once you graduate, consider joining a professional organization. Organizations such as the American Evaluation Association (AEA) provide both recent graduates and seasoned veterans access to training, professional development, and networking opportunities.
- American Evaluation Association The AEA advocates for educational assessment professionals through inquiry into assessment practices and technology. The organization's 7,300 members enjoy access to professional development and training, a webinar series, and internship opportunities.
- Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education The AAHLE represents one of the largest organizations in the nation of assessment professionals in higher education. Members can take advantage of resources including career help services, a webinar library, and a podcast.
- e-Assessment Association The eAA furthers the effective usage of e-assessment technology in education at every level. The organization's annual event calendar features an annual conference and awards ceremony, while online resources include webinars, scholarly archives, and journals.
- International Association for Educational Assessment Established in 1974, the IAEA promotes excellence among educational assessment specialists by exploring the application of educational assessment tools used in diverse cultures. The organization's website features a job postings section.
- Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation Founded in 1975, the JCSEE bears the standards for educational evaluation and assessment. The American/Canadian based nonprofit not only sets industry standards, but also trains educational assessment specialists in correcting implementing standards.
- National Assessment Governing Board The NAGB oversees and sets policy relating to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) national report card. The group's resources for specialists encompass events for governing board members and publications relating to NAEP findings.
- National Association of Assessment Directors The NAAD promotes and supports scholarly work on testing in the classroom. Members enjoy access to two annual newsletters and an annual meeting on contemporary issues in educational assessment.
- National Center on Educational Outcomes The NCEO advocates for disabled and EL learners by researching educational outcomes for these groups. Their resources for specialists include webinars and in-person training that can count for continuing education credit.
- National Education Association The NEA furthers initiatives for improving quality of education in the U.S., tackling social issues such as education funding through advocacy. The organization's resources for specialists include several grants and awards for educators.
- The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment The NCIEA strives to improve educational outcomes for students nationwide through initiatives such as ESSA Accountability. Professionals should take advantage of the organization's instructional resources and events such as its interactive lecture series.