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Publications in VIVO

Shear, Benjamin R

Assistant Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Dr. Shear's primary research interests address topics in psychometrics and applied statistics aimed at improving the fairness of test development and use in educational research. His areas of expertise include validity theory, differential item functioning (DIF), and categorical data analysis techniques. His work aims to inform our perspectives about test score meaning and use for research and accountability purposes, and to help answer questions such as, “what do test scores measure, and how do we know?” His work addresses these questions by developing and applying statistical models to generate and evaluate test scores and to make better use of existing large-scale assessment data. An example of the former is the use of DIF analyses to detect biased test items; an example of the latter is the novel application of ordered probit models to summarize large-scale state assessment data.


selected publications


courses taught

  • EDUC 7396 - Categorical Data Analysis
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019 / Spring 2020
    Introduces contemporary advanced multivariate techniques and their application in social science research. Methods include multivariate regression and analysis of variance, structural equation models, and factor analysis. Prior experience with Anova and multiple regression is assumed.
  • EDUC 7456 - Multilevel Modeling
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2022
    Covers in depth two advanced multivariate models common to social science research: latent variable (structural equation) models and multi-level (hierarchical) models. Topics may be taught with a particular analytic context, such as measurement of change (longitudinal analysis) or experimental design.
  • EDUC 8230 - Quantitative Methods I
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2019
    Explores the use of statistics to formalize research design in educational research. Introduces descriptive statistics, linear regression, probability, and the basics of statistical inference. Includes instruction in the use of statistical software, (e.g., SPSS.).
  • EDUC 8240 - Quantitative Methods II
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021 / Spring 2022 / Spring 2023
    Continues the exploration of research design in the social sciences, especially the evaluation of the quantitative research reported in professional journals. Introduces instances of the general linear model (both multiple regression and ANOVA) and its application to educational research.
  • EDUC 8710 - Measurement in Survey Research
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2020 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2023
    Introduces students to classical test theory and item response theory. Emphasizes the process of developing, analyzing and validating a survey instrument. Focuses on developing a survey instrument with items that derive from a clearly delineated theory for the construct to be measured. Analyzes item responses and put together a validity argument to support the proposed uses of the survey.
  • EDUC 8720 - Advanced Topics in Measurement
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018
    Focuses on psychometric models for measurement and their applications in educational and psychological research. Emphasizes understanding and evaluating the utility of models from item response theory (IRT). Applies and compares measurement models in the context of simulated or empirical data sets. Recommended prerequisite: EDUC 8710.


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