PhD in Psychometrics/Methodology and Statistics

PhD in Psychometrics/Methodology and Statistics

Published Deadline Location
9 Apr today Tilburg
Tilburg University is looking for a PhD in Psychometrics/Methodology and Statistics: Assessing and improving the quality of measurement in large-scale educational assessment using response times for the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Methodology and Statistics, location Tilburg.

Job description

Project description
In this project, you will be carrying out psychometric research with the aim to write several articles that are publishable in peer-reviewed journals and present your work on national and international conferences. Your research combines modern psychometrics, including new data technologies, with practical assessment issues. 

You will become part of the Department of Methodology and Statistics and will join an active research group in psychometrics. This project is supervised by dr. Jesper Tijmstra, dr. Maria Bolsinova, and prof. Jeroen Vermunt.

Background
With the advance of computerized assessments, process data such as response times are now commonly available when respondents take psychological or educational tests. Recently, psychometric models have been developed that make use of response times to improve the precision with which ability is measured. While these models allow for an impactful improvement in measurement quality if their assumptions are met, there are important threats to validity when assumptions of the model about the behaviour of response times do not hold. For example, it is often assumed that there is a linear relationship between speed and ability, which is also sometimes assumed to be the same for every group that is studied. When these assumptions are not met, researchers may unknowingly draw the wrong conclusions based on their analyses.

Unfortunately, these threats are commonly ignored in practice when models that include response times are used. With international large-scale assessment programs such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) moving towards adopting such response time models, it is becoming crucially important that tools are developed for assessing the validity of these models. Since the results of these programs have far-reaching practical consequences for educational policy and the comparison of countries, these tools will need to be developed before a wide-scale adoption of these methods can be defended. 

This project focuses on the development and application of exactly these tools. As a PhD candidate on this project, you will master a range of advanced psychometric models that incorporate response time for the measurement of ability, and work on the development and application of methods for testing the validity of these models, with a focus on large-scale educational measurement settings. With this, the project will provide a notable contribution to safeguarding and improving the quality of measurement in these important settings. 

Your position
We are looking for a talented and ambitious PhD candidate in methodology and statistics to develop and apply novel psychometric models that make use of response times for the purpose of measuring ability, with a focus on large-scale educational assessment. 

The position also involves contributions to teaching, giving the candidate the opportunity to build a teaching portfolio during the PhD project. The position and the environment in which the candidate will be embedded provide an optimal starting point for an academic career in academia in general and psychometrics and statistics in particular. The candidate will follow a customized track of graduate courses as part of the Interuniversity Graduate School of Psychometrics and Sociometrics (IOPS) program, which will further develop the candidate’s research skills, background knowledge, and network.

Your responsibilities  

  • Your research work includes literature reviews, developing and extending statistical methodologies, analysing theoretical & practical properties, conducting simulations, analysing empirical data, and writing software.
  • You will prepare scientific articles to be published in international journals, present key findings at national and international scientific conferences, and write a dissertation.
  • You will contribute to Open Science and Team Science.
  • You will actively participate in the Department of Methodology and Statistics.
  • You will contribute to education and supervision (e.g. supervising bachelor’s theses and research skills groups).

Specifications

Tilburg University

Requirements

Your background
An ideal candidate should have sound knowledge of psychometrics (including some familiarity with item response theory) and statistics, programming skills and affinity with research methods and techniques. Furthermore, the candidate should have (nearly) completed a Master’s degree with excellent academic results in methodology, psychometrics, statistics, quantitative psychology, educational measurement, or a related field. Other requirements are: 

  • Interest in conducting high-quality research
  • Interest in developing and applying advanced statistical methods
  • Programming skills (e.g., R, Python, Matlab, or others).
  • Communication and cooperation skills and willingness to work in a team
  • Project management and organization skills
  • Interest in open science and team science
  • Proficiency in English
  • Interest in providing small-scale education, such as teaching working groups or bachelor thesis supervision 

Increasing your value
With us, you will find everything you need to maximize your potential and development. We offer excellent facilities and support for research, education, and making societal impact. In all three of these areas, we “recognize and reward” you in line with national university aspirations. With great opportunities such as collaborating in an academic collaborative center, or participating in our Connected Leading program. We attach great importance to team spirit and have a clear, shared vision of (personal) leadership (Connected Leading). Read more about careers at Tilburg University and personal development here.  

Conditions of employment

Your terms of employment
Your valuable contribution will be rewarded with attractive benefits and sufficient attention to work-life balance. Our offer includes:

  • A position based on 1.0 FTE (40 hours per week)
  • This is a vacancy for a temporary position in accordance with Article 2.3, paragraph 5 of the CLA for Dutch Universities. You will be given a temporary employment contract for the duration of 12 months. After this period, in case of proven suitability and continuation in the same position, you will receive a subsequent employment contract that can be extended to a maximum duration of 48 months. 
  • A salary ranging from a minimum of € 2.770 to a maximum of € 3.539 gross per month for full time employment, based on UFO profile PhD and salary scale PR of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. 

In addition to your monthly salary, you will receive 41 vacation days (for a 40-hour work week), a holiday allowance (8%), and a year-end bonus (8.3%). We reimburse the full cost of sustainable commuting: walking, cycling, or public transportation. We have a moving expenses scheme that makes it attractive to live close to the university. You will be enrolled in the ABP pension fund through us. Our Options Model allows you to choose from a variety of facilities at a tax advantage. You can work in a hybrid manner: on campus and, for a reimbursement, from home. Researchers from outside the Netherlands may qualify for a tax-free allowance of 30% of their taxable salary if they meet the relevant conditions. The university applies for this allowance on their behalf.

Your work environment
You will work in a pleasant working environment; a green campus with plenty of facilities. At a leading, entrepreneurial, and innovative university in the humanities and social sciences. The university employs 2,400 staff members and hosts 20,000 students of some 100 different nationalities. For nearly a century, this organization has worked together with a tradition aimed at contributing to society. We strive to be a community where differences in age, gender, orientation, and cultural and religious backgrounds are valued, with equal opportunities for colleagues and students and where, moreover, all decisions take into account the importance of preserving the Earth for future generations. 

Read more about the university here.

Employer

Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (TSB) is a modern, specialized university. The teaching and research of the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences are organized around the themes of Adaptive societies, organizations, and workers, Healthy life span, Personalized prevention and care. The School's inspiring working environment challenges its workers to realize their ambitions; involvement and cooperation are essential to achieve this.

Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Additional information

Would you like to join us with your valuable input? Then apply online by May, 20, 2024.  Address your cover letter to prof. dr. Jeroen Vermunt. Your application should include:

  1. Letter of motivation, including research area/topics of interest
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. List of grades (transcripts)
  4. A sample of your academic writing (e.g. bachelor/master thesis, paper). If you are currently working on your master thesis, feel free to submit your thesis draft.

For more information about this position, feel free to email dr. Jesper Tijmstra: j.tijmstra@tilburguniversity.edu.

Specifications

  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3538 per month
  • University graduate
  • 22246

Employer

Location

Warandelaan 2, 5037 AB, Tilburg

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Application procedure

The first round of interviews are expected to take place in the week of May 27, 2024.

The PhD project will start on September 1, 2024. 

The selection committee consists of the following members of the Department of Methodology and Statistics:

  1. Prof. dr. Jeroen Vermunt
  2. Dr. Maria Bolsinova
  3. Dr. Jesper Tijmstra

Application procedure

Application procedure

The first round of interviews are expected to take place in the week of May 27, 2024.

The PhD project will start on September 1, 2024. 

The selection committee consists of the following members of the Department of Methodology and Statistics:

  1. Prof. dr. Jeroen Vermunt
  2. Dr. Maria Bolsinova
  3. Dr. Jesper Tijmstra

Make sure to apply no later than 20 May 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).