Our Research Team

A broad, deep portfolio of expertise and experience benefits our clients and company alike.
Dr. E. Matthew Schulz

Dr. E. Matthew Schulz

Vice President of Research and Test Development

Dr. Schulz combines in-depth management experience with significant accomplishment in large scale assessment. He manages the psychometric components of online testing programs and performs psychometric research for assessments that integrate automated and electronic hand-scoring. He provides leadership and guidance to clients and business partners on assessment development, psychometrics, research studies, and other issues that may arise from program development, legislative actions, or stakeholder input.

Previously, Dr. Schulz was a principal research statistician at ACT, Inc. He is widely published and serves as a consultant to state boards of education, school districts, and licensure and certification boards on topics of equating, vertical scaling, job analysis, and computerized testing.

Dr. W. Alan Nicewander

Dr. W. Alan Nicewander

Chief Psychometrician

Dr. Nicewander, a practicing expert in educational and psychological measurement, has achieved recognition for his work in using item response theory (IRT) to solve applied testing problems. He advises on large-scale testing issues, conducts research and technical studies for the company’s contracts and product line, and implements psychometric aspects of statewide assessment programs. Most recently, he was been engaged in developing growth measurement and vertical scaling methodology.

He has written dozens of journal articles and is a former professor and chairman of the Psychology Department at the University of Oklahoma. He previously served as director of statistical research for ACT, Inc., and head of the Department of Defense Personnel Testing Division. Dr. Nicewander holds a Ph.D. in Psychometrics and Applied Statistics from Purdue University.

Sandip Sinharay, Ph.D.

Sandip Sinharay, Ph.D.

Chief Statistician

As Chief Statistician, Dr. Sinharay provides statistical support for programs and special projects and leads efforts to secure funding in support of research and development in educational assessment.

He has received four awards from the National Council on Measurement in Education, two ETS Presidential Awards, and an ETS Service Scientist Award. Dr. Sinharay is the co-editor of two published volumes and the author of more than 75 articles in peer-reviewed statistics and psychometrics journals and edited books.

Dr. Susan Lottridge

Dr. Susan Lottridge

Director of Machine Scoring and Psychomectric Tools

Dr. Lottridge leads automated scoring efforts and manages operational scoring, monitoring, and reporting.  She ensures that proper procedures are followed with respect to engine functioning, versioning, and quality assurance. Since 2007 she has led the automated scoring effort for Louisiana’s end-of-course high stakes assessment program developed by Pacific Metric and previously led the automated scoring effort for Louisiana’s PASS assessment program.

Dr. Lottridge holds a Ph.D. in Assessment and Measurement from James Madison University, an M.S. in Computer Science and an M.A. in Mathematics from University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of St. Thomas.

Michelle Barrett

Michelle Barrett

Director of Assessment Technology

Michelle Barrett is the Director of Assessment Technology at Pacific Metrics, responsible for the design, engineering, and development of industry leading assessment technology solutions. Previously, she worked for CTB McGraw-Hill where she led efforts on psychometric utilities, optimal test design, computer adaptive testing engines, and artificial intelligence engine training and validation systems. Ms. Barrett also worked as a senior consultant in the assessment division at the Colorado Department of Education. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, a master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a graduate certificate in large scale assessment from the University of Maryland. She will receive her PhD in research methods, data analysis, and measurement from University of Twente, Netherlands, in 2015.

Daniel Lewis, Ph.D.

Daniel Lewis, Ph.D.

Principal Research Scientist

Dr. Lewis supports the design and development of new products, methods and serves in Pacific Metric’s product group. After teaching elementary school, he taught mathematics at Kent State University, where he earned his master’s degree in Pure Mathematics. Dr. Lewis completed his doctorate in Educational Measurement and taught educational research methods as an Associate Faculty member of the Graduate School of Education at Kent State University. He also served as Chief Research Advisor at McGraw-Hill Education CTB.

Dr. Lewis and Pacific Metrics co-founder Dr. Howard Mitzel authored the Bookmark Standard-Setting Procedure, now the predominant method for setting performance standards in the United States. Dr. Lewis’ subsequent research was foundational to the area of measurement now described as Vertically Moderated Standard Setting.  His current research interests include test report design, standard setting, growth models, and assessment policy.

Tia Sukin Ed.D.

Tia Sukin Ed.D.

Sr. Psychometrician

Dr. Sukin develops procedures for the integrity of performance data, and performs psychometric processes and research. She is directly responsible for preparing and presenting program reports, and providing support related to psychometric issues and test development.

She has served as the lead psychometrician for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Judgmental Standard Setting and Writing Achievement-Levels Setting contracts. Her research interests include item response theory, test equating methods, item parameter drift detection, generalizability theory applications, and validity studies.

Furong Gao, Ph.D.

Furong Gao, Ph.D.

Sr. Research Statistician

Dr. Gao provides technical leadership and psychometric guidance on educational measurement product development, design and implementation of research studies.

She has worked as a senior research statistician and a research manager at CTB/McGraw-Hill Education and was the lead research scientist on developing the TerraNovaTM achievement assessments.  As a senior statistician in the Web Search division at Yahoo! Inc., Dr. Gao conducted statistical data analyses on user intent and behavior, relevancy of search results, A/B bucket testing on search engine performance, and provided business insights based on data findings for search algorithm optimization.

Scott Wood, Ph.D.

Scott Wood, Ph.D.

Associate Director

Dr. Wood leads numerous projects around research and development of scoring engines for Pacific Metrics, including psychometric training, validation, and monitoring.

He is an active member of the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the National Council on Measurement in Education. Through educational and professional experience he has become highly proficient in several programming languages, including SAS, R/S-PLUS, SPSS, and Java.

Dr. Wood won the Allen T. Craig Award for Outstanding Teaching Assistant while on staff at the University of Iowa.

Teresa E. Walker, Ph.D.

Teresa E. Walker, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Scoring

Dr. Walker provides thought leadership in all aspects of scoring across multiple projects at Pacific Metrics. As part of the automated scoring (AS) team, she serves as the liaison between the AS staff, programs, and clients to formulate policies around the use of AS, as well as coordinates the technical integration of the AS engine with test delivery platforms and monitoring of AS during testing. Since 2010, she has served as the liaison with the handscoring vendor on one of Pacific Metrics’ large-scale state assessment contracts. In that role, she is responsible for developing and maintaining process documentation and technical specifications, as well as managing scoring-related activities, timelines, and milestones. She also oversees the vendor’s adherence to proper scoring protocols, including using statistical information to monitor the vendor’s readers during operational administrations. Moreover, Dr. Walker consults with multiple departments to ensure a comprehensive approach to scoring, including supporting test development and item-writing activities by providing scoring-based information for item writing, evaluation, and selection. In addition to the scoring work, Dr. Walker provides support to Research and Test Development by preparing for and co-facilitating standard setting workshops and writing technical reports and memoranda.
Dr. Walker received her Ph.D. and M.S. in cognitive psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She also holds a B.A. from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia.

Jessalyn Smith, Ph.D.

Jessalyn Smith, Ph.D.

Psychometrician

Dr. Smith provides technical support and psychometric analysis for programs and conducts psychometric research.  She works with the US Defense Language Institutes to support and improve all aspects of their language assessment systems. Prior to joining Pacific Metrics, she worked as a Research Scientist at CTB/McGraw Hill Education and was the lead research scientist on several summative and formative assessment contracts. She has also worked at the University of South Carolina as a statistician and an instructor. Her research interests include multidimensional IRT, latent class and variable modeling, and statistical methods applied in the context of test security and she published in these subjects.  Dr. Smith holds a Ph.D. in Educational Studies and a M.S. in Statistics from the University of South Carolina and a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from Westminster College.

Minh Duong Ph.D.

Minh Duong Ph.D.

Psychometrician

Dr. Duong provides psychometric analysis and equating procedures; leveraging his deep knowledge and experience in test design, test form development, item analyses, calibration, equating, scaling, technical deliverables, and technical reports.Dr.

Duong is fluent in several programming languages including SAS, and has extensive experience in designing and conducting research in test equating, IRT parameter estimation, and test validity. He holds a Ph.D. in Measurement and Quantitative Methods from Michigan State University, an M.S. in Science Education from Simon Fraser University, and a B.S. in Physics from Cantho University in Vietnam.

Vincent Kieftenbeld Ph.D.

Vincent Kieftenbeld Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

Vincent Kieftenbeld is a senior research scientist at Pacific Metrics, where he focuses on building innovative assessment solutions that combine technology and psychometrics.

Previously, he conducted research and development on automated scoring at McGraw-Hill Education CTB. Vincent was responsible for several research projects that were part of the Smarter Balanced automated scoring research studies.

He holds a master’s degrees in mathematics and secondary education (mathematics) from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and a PhD in mathematics from the University of North Texas.

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