Education: Educational Foundations: Assessment and Evaluation

Master of Arts in Educational Foundations: Assessment and Evaluation

About the Degree

The master's program is geared toward current or future educators who would like to become assessment and evaluation leaders in their schools, school districts, and/or state, preparing them to be leaders in the area of school-based assessment and evaluation. This program is applicable to all educators with a focus across disciplines, content areas, and grade levels.

Students study the comprehensive process of data-driven decision making process and to be leaders in the area of educationally-based assessment and evaluation. Student in this degree program study the tenets of assessment, evaluation, and data-literacy and apply these tenets to the process of:

  1. Designing and implementing formative and summative assessments
  2. Analyzing and interpreting assessment data to improve instruction
  3. Applying evaluation theory and diverse approaches in authentic settings
  4. Implementing assessment and evaluation to impact practices in the an array of educational settings
  5. Locating, analyzing, interpreting and using multiple data sources

Salary and Career Outlook

Educators in diverse fields are increasingly expected to engage in a continuous improvement process in which data-driven decision-making is paramount. Skills in the area of educational assessment and evaluation are in demand across a variety of fields including: Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession (OSTP), Interstate   Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC), National Policy Board for Education Administration (NPBEA), Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). In regards to the ISTE body of standards, four different professions are represented including teachers, coaches, computer science teachers, and administrators. In reviewing the standards across these areas, a clear trend in the need for skills in the following areas:

  • Developing formative and summative assessment tools aligned with standards
  • Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting multiple types of data to inform student learning and program or      product effectiveness
  • Using of resulting data to make informed decisions
  • Conducting needs assessments
  • Developing evaluation plans to determine program effectiveness and improvements needed to move learning forward
  • Collaborating to develop sound metrics to collect, analyze, and interpret results to move learning forward and improve staff performance
  • Educating others to systematically collect, analyze, and use multiple assessment types to inform student learning and program or product effectiveness

The master’s degree in Assessment and Evaluation at the College of Education at the University of Akron is targeted to professionals working in a variety of settings in the field of education as demonstrated by the variety of standards targeted by the program goals across OSTP, InTASC, ISTE, NASPA, and NPBEA. The target population includes students currently working towards a licensure and professionals currently working in an educational setting as a teacher, providing support services, or serving as an administrator. Those in the latter target population already hold a job but are seeking to enhance their skills in assessment and evaluation to improve their practices or educate others to develop skills in assessment planning and development and the data-driven decision making process.

Many school districts (e.g., Akron Public Schools, Canton City Schools, Copley-Fairlawn, etc.) provide both salary incentives and reimbursement for pursuing advanced degrees, endorsements, or certificates. These achievements often qualify teachers and other educational professionals for assuming new roles and responsibilities in their districts. Some school districts specify the degrees/endorsement/certificates that teachers must pursue in order to qualify for bumps in the pay ladder, but other districts leave this open-ended. For example, teachers in Cleveland now have five career paths that they can pursue. Most of these require additional graduate education or degrees. Three years ago, the Ohio legislature lifted the educational requirement to qualify for a pay bump, but many districts nevertheless reward teachers for pursuing additional professional education.

Why Akron?

Although peer institutions are recognizing this market and demand for skills, the College of Education at the University of Akron offers the only fully online master’s and certificate program, and is the only peer institution that currently offers both a master’s and certificate program.

In addition the degree differs from rival institutions in its focus and application. Rival institutions offer programs with similar titles but with a distinctly different focus. Traditionally, the focus of research, assessment and evaluation master’s degree programs has been to develop a cadre of students who matriculate into doctoral programs in research, evaluation, and assessment – and ultimately seek faculty or administrative positions in higher education. In contrast, the focus of at the University of Akron is on educational professionals who seek the practical assessment, evaluation, and data literacy skills that will directly impact the learners with whom they engage. Students in the College of Education at the University of Akron participate in problem-based learning in which they apply the concepts and skills of assessment, evaluation, and data literacy to address the practical challenges they face in their real world educational environments. 

As part of the master’s program, students are required to complete a master’s project applying their skills in a real-world context. There are a variety of approaches that students can choose for their project to cater to their area of personal and professional interest. General examples include: (1) completing an evaluation of an existing program or product, (2) conducting a research study to address problems in practice, (3) developing assessments or assessment plans, and (4) developing, implementing, and evaluating professional development.

Contact Information

            Program Coordinator:            Dr. Susan Kushner Benson

                                                            Central Hower, Room 317A


                                                            (330) 972-8577

            Graduate School:                   Heather Blake

                                                            Polsky Building, Room 467


                                                            (330) 972-7664