Quantitative Research Methods
Educational & Classroom Assessment
Development of Children & Youth
Professor Li’s primary research centers on the assessment triangle that links the vertices of learning cognition, assessment and interpretation. Her work is mainly geared toward tying the science of cognition to the science of item development and research of assessment validation. From her early work on comparing concept-mapping techniques to more recent work on analyzing large-scale test items, she focuses on exploring assessment tools that tap into different cognitive factors of learners. In addition, she and colleagues have been working closely with teachers and school leaders on instruments for evaluating their instructional practices.
She is also interested in data analytic and cognitive methods for bringing well-warranted information to bear on the validity of the link between assessment and the construct to be measured. In current projects, she explores how students respond to test items in relation to item characteristics so that the findings can inform the process of assessment construction and enhance formative use of assessment information. Those projects involve interdisciplinary collaborations with scholars from various STEM fields and teachers.
Professor Li’s publications include “The development and initial validation of an assessment of algebraic thinking for students in the elementary grades” in Educational Assessment and “PISA science contextualized items: the link between the cognitive demands and context characteristics of the items” in the Journal of Educational Research, Assessment & Evaluation. She is currently principal investigator or co-investigator on several projects funded by the National Science Foundation that examine the validity claims around assessments in science, math and computing education.
Learn more about Professor Li’s work refining an online tool for school leaders to improve classroom instruction.