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Dr. Wenchao Ma

Associate Professor, Educational Research
Department of Educational Studies in Psychology, Research Methodology & Counseling


  • Psychometrics
  • Item Response Theory
  • Cognitive Diagnosis Models


  • Educational and Psychological Measurement
  • Statistical Computing and Inferences
  • Quantitative Research Methods


Ph.D. in Educational Statistics and Measurement, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
M.S. in Statistics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Master of Education, Beijing Normal University, China
B.S. in Psychology, Beijing Normal University, China


  • 2021 National Council on Measurement in Education Jason Millman Promising Measurement Scholar Award
  • 2018 American Educational Research Association (Division D) Outstanding Dissertation Award
  • 2017 National Council on Measurement in Education Bradley Hanson Award for Contributions to Educational Measurement


Dr. Ma is an assistant professor in the educational research program at The University of Alabama. His research interests lie in educational and psychological measurement. He has developed psychometric tools to aid the use of cognitively diagnostic assessments, which can be used in a variety of educational settings to support learning. For example, they can be embedded in the classrooms as end-of-unit classroom tests or quarterly benchmark tests to provide helpful information for teachers to monitor students’ progress and adjust their instructions. They can also be used as the engine in massive open online course programs or intelligent tutoring systems.

Dr. Ma’s current research focuses on the methodology and applications of cognitive diagnosis models, which are psychometric approaches developed to provide diagnostic information about students’ strengths and weaknesses for supporting classroom learning and instruction. Dr. Ma has published articles in top-tier journals in psychometrics. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Educational Research Association, and The University of Alabama.

Dr. Ma teaches a range of graduate courses, such as The Introduction to Psychometrics, Item Response Theory, and Cognitive Diagnosis Modeling.