JMU alumni Dr. Ross Markle & Dr. Javarro Russell partner with current PhD students to impact the quality of higher education outcomes assessment

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Markle & Javarro
Dr. Ross Markle, Andrea Pope, Dr. Javarro Russell, Kristen Smith

On March 31, 2017, Dr. Ross Markle (Assessment & Measurement PhD 2010) and Dr. Javarro Russell (Assessment & Measurement PhD 2011) co-presented the Center for Assessment & Research Studies (CARS) symposium “Higher Education Assessment Challenges and the ETS/JMU Partnership for Strategic Solutions” with current PhD student Kristen Smith (Assessment & Measurement PhD 2017).  Both Dr. Markle & Dr. Russell are Senior Research and Assessment Directors in the Higher Education Division of Educational Testing Service (ETS). Kristen Smith completed a fully-funded internship with Ross and Javarro during the 2016 - 2017 academic year, with the goal of impacting the quality of higher education outcomes assessment.

During the symposium, Dr. Russell and Dr. Markle shared their experiences and current work in higher education assessment. Each discussed trends currently affecting their work, as well as the field of educational research and assessment at large. Higher education assessment is complex and expansive. Research and assessment professionals must think innovatively to address various technical and practical issues.

Dr. Russell and Dr. Markle explained how ETS has recently partnered with JMU to respond to these trends and provide thought leadership. Through this partnership, ETS and JMU created a year-long internship experience. Third-year doctoral student, Kristen Smith, described her work with ETS, including how it has promoted institutional partnerships and supported innovative practices. Kristen will continue her focus on assessment and the partnership with JMU and ETS when she moves into her new position as Director of Assessment of the School of Education at University of North Carolina—Greensboro.

The ETS-JMU partnership will continue this summer as PhD student Andrea Pope completes an ETS funded internship focused on the measurement of key outcomes in higher education (e.g., civic engagement, critical thinking, intercultural competency, quantitative reasoning). 

Dr. Javarro Russell/ Senior Research and Assessment Director in the Business Development Group, College Programs Unit, Educational Testing Service (ETS)

Javarro’s role includes consulting on measurement design issues in higher education. Much of his work involves assisting institutions and organizations in identifying solutions to assessing student learning outcomes on their campuses. Prior to joining ETS, he completed his Ph.D. in Assessment and Measurement at James Madison University. From there, he worked as an operational psychometrician for the National Board of Medical Examiners, where he led scoring activities for medical licensure, certification, and in-training exams. His responsibilities included consulting with medical schools and residency programs on high stakes and low stakes assessment activities.

Dr. Ross Markle/ Senior Research and Assessment Director for the Higher Education Division, Educational Testing Service (ETS)

In his role, Ross supports ETS’ thought leadership efforts in higher education by collaborating with operational and research areas, as well as the higher education community. Ross also works directly with colleges and universities to promote the effective use of assessments and data in student success efforts, particularly with traditionally underserved populations. He has also worked in ETS’ Research and Development Division, focusing on the assessment of noncognitive and 21st century skills, student success, and student learning outcomes in higher education. Ross’ current work focuses on assessing noncognitive skills to improve student success, training faculty and staff in effective student learning outcomes assessment processes, and measuring institutional outcomes such as civic competency and engagement, and intercultural competence and diversity. Prior to joining ETS’ Higher Education Division, Ross obtained his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, his master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from Middle Tennessee State University, and his Ph.D. in assessment and measurement from James Madison University. He had also previously served as the Director of Co-Curricular Assessment and Research at Northern Kentucky University.

Kristen Smith/ Third-Year Doctoral Candidate in the Assessment & Measurement Ph.D. Program, James Madison University; External Consultant, Educational Testing Service (ETS)

In her role as a consultant for ETS, Kristen helped create and disseminate a user guide for the HEIghten assessment suite, as well as an accompanying exemplar assessment report. Prior to her assistantship with ETS, Kristen served as an assessment consultant for JMU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for reaccreditation, The Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action. Both her thesis and dissertation research focused on developing assessment instruments aligned with Madison Collaborative student learning outcomes, creating and empirically studying ethical reasoning educational interventions on-campus, and helping Madison Collaborative stakeholders evidence improvements in students’ ethical reasoning skills. During her time at JMU, Kristen also completed an internship with a regional accreditor, SACSCOC. Kristen has co-authored 11 peer-reviewed publications related to higher education research, assessment, and student learning improvement. Last year, she was the recipient of the Overall Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Scholarship, Teaching, and Service from JMU’s Department of Graduate Psychology. She has also been recognized as the runner-up for the JMU Student Employee of the Year. Upon graduation in May 2017, (Dr.) Kristen Smith will be Director of Assessment of the School of Education at University of North Carolina—Greensboro.

Andrea Pope/1st year in the Assessment & Measurement Program, James Madison University, Summer Intern, Educational Testing Service (ETS)

In her role as intern for ETS, Andrea will help align JMU programs with the HEIghten assessment suite. Her goal will be to identify programs who wish to use results from these assessment to improve student learning and development. Our goal is to then showcase these exemplars of learning improvement.  Prior to joining the PhD program, Andrea completed JMU’s College Student Personnel Administration M.A. program and an undergraduate degree in Public Policy and Sociology at University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill. 

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Published: Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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