Research Specialist, Measurement and Data Analysis

Updated: 3 months ago
Location: Chestnut Hill, MASSACHUSETTS

Boston College Introduction

Founded in 1863, Boston College is a Jesuit, Catholic university located six miles from downtown Boston with an enrollment of 9,377 full-time undergraduates and 4,420 graduate and professional students. Ranked 37 among national universities, Boston College has 878 full-time and 1,201 FTE faculty, 2,750 non-faculty employees, an operating budget of $1 billion, and an endowment in excess of $2.2 billion.

Job Description
The TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center is hiring a Research Specialist, Measurement & Data Analysis, with a focus on statistical programming and data analysis. The ideal candidate will have work experience in the operational analysis of large-scale international student skill assessment data.


Located at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development, IEA’s TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center conducts regular international comparative assessments of student achievement in mathematics and science (TIMSS) and in reading (PIRLS) in more than 60 countries. TIMSS (the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and PIRLS (the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) together comprise the core cycle of studies for IEA – the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. Headquartered in Amsterdam and with a major data processing and research center in Hamburg, IEA has been conducting international comparative studies of student achievement since 1959.


TIMSS and PIRLS collect an array of information about home, school, and classroom contexts in which students in each country learn mathematics, science, and reading. Collecting comparable data about students' opportunities to learn is at the core of TIMSS and PIRLS, and the results are reported regularly in relation to countries' achievement on the mathematics, science, and reading assessment and as a matter of interest to educators and policy makers.


The position requires a combination of research and operational experience in data analysis, psychometrics and statistics, and desirably a good understanding of large scale international educational measurement projects. National and international travel may be required for attendance of TIMSS and PIRLS meetings as well as presentations at conferences and workshops.

The Research Specialist, Measurement & Data Analysis is responsible for assisting the Director of Psychometrics and Data Analysis and contributing to all technical aspects of the TIMSS and PIRLS international assessments, including designing and conducting statistical analyses necessary for reporting the results of the TIMSS and PIRLS, as well as special studies and assessments, communicating and documenting the results to a wide international audience, as well as traveling to international meetings and training sessions. The successful candidate will have an interest and experience in applying multidimensional item response theory models to very large sets of data a strong background in statistics, psychometrics, data analysis, and R or SAS statistical scripting.


Data collection and reporting for TIMSS and PIRLS take place on regular, ongoing cycles, requiring constant advances in measurement methodology. TIMSS and PIRLS results are disseminated through reports and via the web through a well-documented database.




  • Analytic and operational work to support successful completion of all reporting schedules. Work with research specialists, statistical programmers, and psychometricians, as well as assessment developers at the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center.

  • Develop, maintain, and document processing systems and computer programs required to analyze data from TIMSS, PIRLS and upcoming special studies and expanded assessment portfolio.

  • Develop computer programs for data analysis exhibits published in the TIMSS, PIRLS and special study reports

  • Document and publish the TIMSS and PIRLS international databases and user guides for each assessment cycle and used by researchers around the world

  • Design and analyze special linking studies that align assessments for developing countries as well as special data collections for TIMSS and PIRLS countries targeting low performing subgroups.

  • Requirements

    • PhD or advanced qualifications and experience in quantitative psychology, psychometrics, statistics, or a related field.

    • Research Associate, Measurement & Data Analysis :
      0 years of relevant work experience in a research or operational large-scale assessment program

    • Research Specialist, Measurement & Data Analysis :
      3 years of relevant work experience in a research or operational large-scale assessment program

    • Senior Research Specialist, Measurement & Data Analysis :
      6 years of relevant work experience in a research or operational large-scale assessment program

    • Strong quantitative skills and experience in complex data analysis, modeling, and statistical programming targeting analyses of large scale assessment and/or survey data

    • Experience with relevant statistical programming and analysis tools. Experience in either R or SAS and ability to work with both is desired.

    • Willingness to pick up new methodological skills and learn new tools as required by current and future responsibilities is required.

    • Experience working in an international and multicultural environment

    • Excellent oral and written communication skills

    • Experience in writing research proposals and publications and in preparing and delivering presentations to a wide range of technical and non-technical audiences

    • Ability to persevere, maintain focus in reviewing technical material, pay close attention to detail under tight deadlines

    This is a grant-funded position.


    Competitive salary commensurate with relevant experience.






    Closing Statement

    Boston College offers a broad and competitive range of benefits depending on your job classification eligibility:

    • Tuition remission for Employees
    • Tuition remission for Spouses and Children who meet eligibility requirements
    • Generous Medical, Dental, and Vision Insurance
    • Low-Cost Life Insurance
    • Eligibility for both University-Funded 401k and Employer-Sponsored 403b Retirement Plans
    • Paid Holidays Annually
    • Generous Sick and Vacation Pay
    • Additional benefits can be found on

    Boston College conducts background checks as part of the hiring process.

    Boston College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of any legally protected category including disability and protected veteran status.  To learn more about how BC supports diversity and inclusion throughout the university please visit the Office for Institutional Diversity at .

    Boston College's Notice of Nondiscrimination can be viewed at .

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