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Washington State University
College of Education

Alumna wins national ed measurement award

Mo Zhang, in front of some art work, smiling at camera.

Ed Psych alumna wins national educational measurement award

By C. Brandon Chapman – College of Education

A Washington State University alumna has been awarded by the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) for her contributions to educational measurement.

Mo Zhang, who earned her Ph.D. in 2012 from the College of Education’s educational psychology program, was given – along with the rest of her team – the Bradley Hanson Award, named for a well-known figure in the field.

According to the NCME website, the Bradley Hanson Award is given to those who “make a substantive contribution to the field of educational measurement or the development, instruction or mentoring of new professionals in the field.”

Zhang is a research scientist for the Educational Testing Service, in Princeton, New Jersey. The team she has worked with has extensively focused on the validity and measurement issues related to automated scoring of open-ended questions.

“Since the beginning of writing assessment, the focus has been upon grading the end result, the essay produced by the examinee,” Zhang said. “With the advent of computer-based testing, it is possible to go beyond evaluating the quality of that end result to analyzing the process used by the student to get there.”

The NCME said the award judging committee made its selection because the group has succeeded in identifying writing, skills and learning needs through online process data. That data could include things like key strokes, mouse clicks, or response time.

“Our field has been discussing the promise of process data for a range of uses for many years,” the committee wrote. “Although this study is somewhat preliminary, it is one of the first in educational testing and shows promise for extension in writing and application in other areas.

Educational psychology professor Brian French, who also runs WSU’s Learning and Performance Research Center, said it was no surprise to him that Zhang earned this national award.

“When Mo was a student working with me, she was always a self-starter and driven to produce high-quality work,” he said. “She has always possessed the personality traits, tenacity, and desire needed to make contributions to our field and I am confident she will continue to do so in the years to come.”

Award recipients receive $1,250 and a commemorative plaque from NCME, to be presented at the organization’s annual meeting in April in Toronto.



They said it…

Mo, on working with Brian French

“I feel fortunate to have completed my graduate studies at Wazzu. My study with Dr. French has helped me build a strong foundation for my career at ETS. I hope to have more collaborations with the professors and students in the Educational Psychology program and LPRC in the future.”

Brian French, on working with Mo

“I am very proud of Mo for this national achievement. She she was a student working with me, she was always a self-starter and driven to produce high-quality work. It is no surprise to me that she has earned this national award in measurement. I always look forward to catching up with Mo at conferences and meetings.”

Mo Zhang looking into camera
News coverage

ETS release: Bradley Hanson Award for Contributions to Educational Measurement Recipients Announced