Lorrie A. Shepard, PhD
My teaching interests focus on research methodology and on testing and assessment topics important
to preservice teachers. I want to ensure that doctoral students in the School of Education have a
solid grounding in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and that they know how to use
tool skills associated with these methods in conducting systematic, disciplined studies on important
topics. My goal for teacher candidates is that they be well prepared to use formative as well as
summative assessments in their classrooms. Especially, they should be able to analyze assessment
results to identify and respond to student needs and to revise instruction based on evidence of
Courses frequently taught:
EDUC 5716: Basic Statistical Methods
Course Overview and Objectives (Fall 2000)
This course is designed to provide a broad overview of statistical concepts
and procedures commonly used in the social sciences (e.g., psychology,
sociology, education). The first part of the course will focus on descriptive
statistics and the second part on inferential statistics. A goal of the
course is to help students gain an understanding of statistics found in
journal articles and in evaluation and policy reports published at the
national, state, and district level. The idea is for you to become a thoughtful
consumer of statistics, able to make sense of what the numbers mean--instead
of only trusting the author to tell you what they mean--and to be aware
of common fallacies. The goal of this first level course is not to make
you a proficient data analyst. Students are asked to do simplified calculations
by hand as a way of "seeing" how the numbers work. For example,
how do changes in individual scores affect changes in a summary statistic?
Students are also introduced to use of statistical software, Statistical
Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), as an easy way to obtain graphical
displays and statistical summaries.
EDUC 7416: Seminar on Assessment of Student Learning
Course Overview and Objectives (Fall 1997)
This seminar is a special topics course focused on issues of assessment of learning and academic
achievement in the current context of standards-based educational reform. Key ideas and
understandings to be developed in the course include the following:
- The traditional measurement concepts of reliability, validity, and fairness. How are these
terms understood by measurement specialists? What should their meaning be for curriculum specialists
and teacher educators?
- The important differences between assessments conducted in classrooms as an on-going part of
the teaching-learning process vs. externally mandated assessments used to monitor trends or to hold
- Behaviorist learning theories of the past have shaped both teaching and testing practices.
What are the implications of cognitive, constructivist, or situated learning theories for changing
- The admirable intentions and controversial aspects of standards-based educational reform. What
vision of assessment is put forward? Why does assessment have such a prominent place in the arguments
- What is meant by "authentic" and "direct" assessment?
What does it look like in each of the subject areas for assessments
to embody meaningful content and processes? What assessment strategies--e.g.,
observations, performances, portfolios, projects, essays, and presentations--are
effective in addressing substantive goals? How can these assessment
strategies contribute to the learning process and what kind information
do they provide?
- What is the role of assessment in the learning process? How are expectations
communicated to students and feedback used to guide improvement? How
can assessments be used to get beyond "knows it" or "doesn't
know it" to provide insights about the specifics of students' understandings
and misconceptions that are held? How is a classroom culture created
whereby teacher evaluations of performance are seen as fair and as valued
coaching rather than as damaging to onès relationship with students?
- How should each of the general principles regarding assessment and
assessment practices be modified to take account of the specific characteristics
of students--especially students' age, language background, and special