Graduate Students in Research on International Large Scale
Assessments – TIMSS & PIRLS Lab

The work of the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center staff is supported by graduate assistants who are students in the Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment (MESA) program at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development. The current graduate researchers assist with operational aspects such as assessment development and assembly and work on research projects aimed at the TIMSS and PIRLS projects.

Jenny (Ji Yoon) Jung

Graduate Research Assistant, TIMSS

Ji Yoon is a Doctoral candidate in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment. Her dissertation concerns automated scoring of written response items in international large-scale assessments.

At TIMSS & PIRLS, Ji Yoon has performed Item Response Theory (IRT) analysis for the LaNA and Rosetta Stone Projects, which measure the literacy and numeracy proficiencies of students in low- to middle-income countries. She has also run automated scoring for written response items using TIMSS 2023 field test data and eTIMSS 2019 data as part of the TIMSS 2023 Automated Scoring Project.

Dihao Leng

Graduate Research Assistant, TIMSS

Dihao is pursuing a PhD in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment. Her dissertation, supervised by TIMSS & PIRLS executive director Dr. Matthias von Davier, aims to advance the application of process data in the realm of large-scale assessments. She has also worked on the automated scoring of mathematics expressions and on utilizing LLMs for the automated generation of mathematics items.

Outside of work, Dihao has applied hierarchical linear models to investigate the individual- and school-level effects of private tutoring on mathematics achievement in South Korea, and has employed mixture models to explore students' attitudes towards mathematics.

Meng Lyu

Graduate Research Assistant, TIMSS

Meng is a PhD student in the Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment program with a focus in psychometrics.

At TIMSS & PIRLS, Meng works on systematically cataloging and structuring the prompts utilized across various AI-driven initiatives. She also explores the use of multi-model LLMs and machine learning models to generate fourth-grade mathematics items for the TIMSS assessment.

Jeneve Swaby

Graduate Research Assistant, PIRLS

Jeneve is a second-year PhD student in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment. She works on the development of reading assessment instruments for PIRLS: reviewing feedback from experts and countries, creating text maps for reading passages, and ensuring the passages are sensitive to cultural differences and suitable for fourth-grade students. Jeneve also contributes to an exploratory project for generating items using artificial intelligence, reviewing the output according to the four reading comprehension processes specified by the PIRLS framework.

After obtaining her PhD, Jeneve hopes to work as a psychometrician/ quantitative methodologist on large-scale assessments that influence policy decisions. She is interested in using process data to identify sources of variation in test-taker performance and to support the valid interpretation of test scores.

Staff in Graduate Programs at BC

Several current TIMSS & PIRLS staff members are working on graduate degrees at Boston College:

  • Charlotte Aldrich—Senior Research Specialist, TIMSS Mathematics Coordinator; PhD student in MESA
  • Mark Mao—Research Associate, Measurement & Data Analysis; PhD student in MESA
  • Erin Wry—Senior Research Specialist, PIRLS Coordinator; PhD student in MESA

Former Graduate Student Researchers on Staff

These current TIMSS & PIRLS staff members completed graduate degrees at Boston College:

  • Dr. Ella Anghel—Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Dr. Bethany Fishbein—Associate Research Director, Psychometrics & Data Analysis
  • Dr. Ann Kennedy—Senior Research Director, Project Management
  • Dr. Katherine Reynolds—Associate Research Director, Context Questionnaires & Reporting

Research By Graduate Students

Combining machine translation and automated scoring in international large-scale assessments

Ji-Yoon Jung, Lillian Tyack, & Matthias von Davier
2024, Large-Scale Assessments in Education 12 (10)

Examining Gender Differences in TIMSS 2019 Using a Multiple-Group Hierarchical Speed-Accuracy-Revisits Model

Dihao Leng, Ummugul Bezirhan, Lale Khorramdel, Bethany Fishbein, & Matthias von Davier
2024, Educational Measurement Issues and Practice

Scoring Graphical Responses in TIMSS 2019 Using Artificial Neural Networks

Matthias von Davier, Lillian Tyack, & Lale Khorramdel
2023, Educational and Psychological Measurement, Volume 83, (3), 556–585

Automated Scoring of Constructed-Response Items Using Artificial Neural Networks in International Large-scale Assessment

Ji Yoon Jung, Lillian Tyack, & Matthias von Davier
2022, Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling, Volume 64, (4), 471–494