News & Updates

RMME News & Updates

Upcoming RMME/STAT Colloquium (3/24): Joseph L. Schafer, “Modeling Coarsened Categorical Variables: Techniques and Software”

RMME/STAT Joint Colloquium

Modeling Coarsened Categorical Variables: Techniques and Software

Dr. Joseph L. Schafer
U.S. Census Bureau

Friday, March 24, at 11AM ET

Coarsened data can express intermediate states of knowledge between fully observed and fully missing. For example, when classifying survey respondents by cigarette smoking behavior as 1=never smoked, 2=former smoker, or 3=current smoker, we may encounter some who reported having smoked in the past but whose current activity is unknown (either 2 or 3, but not 1). Software for categorical data modeling typically provides codes for missing values but lacks convenient ways to convey states of partial  knowledge. A new R package cvam: Coarsened Variable Modeling, extends R’s implementation of categorical variables (factors) and fits log-linear and latent-class models to incomplete datasets containing coarsened and missing values. Methods include maximum likelihood estimation using an expectation-maximization algorithm, approximate Bayesian and Bayesian inference via Markov chain Monte Carlo. Functions are also provided for comparing models, predicting missing values, creating multiple imputations, and generating partially or fully synthetic data. In the first major application of this software, data from the U.S. Decennial Census and administrative records were combined to predict citizenship status for 309 million residents of the United States.


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Upcoming RMME Evaluation Colloquium (3/10): Laura Peck, “The Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) Impact Study: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Experimental Evaluation in Practice”

RMME Evaluation Colloquium

The Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) Impact Study: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Experimental Evaluation in Practice

Dr. Laura Peck
Abt Associates

Friday, March 10, at 11AM ET

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families awarded Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG 1.0) to 32 organizations in 23 states. The purpose of the HPOG Program is to provide education and training to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals for occupations in the healthcare field that pay well and aim to meet local areas’ healthcare sector labor shortages. To assess its effectiveness, an experimental evaluation design assigned eligible program applicants at random to a “treatment” group that could access the program or a “control” group that could not. Beyond the impact analysis, the evaluation also probed questions about what drove program impacts, using various strategies. This colloquium will discuss how the HPOG 1.0 impact study was designed/implemented and introduce attendees to various design and analysis choices used by investigators, in partnership with the government funder, to address research questions. Specific topics will include: experimental design, multi-armed experimental design, experimental impact analysis, planned variation, natural variation, endogenous subgroup analysis, evaluation in practice.


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Upcoming RMME/STAT Colloquium (2/24): Ben Domingue, “Bookmaking for Binary Outcomes: Prediction, Profits, and the IMV”

RMME/STAT Joint Colloquium

Bookmaking for Binary Outcomes: Prediction, Profits, and the IMV

Dr. Ben Domingue
Stanford University

Friday, February 24, at 11AM ET

Understanding the “fit” of models designed to predict binary outcomes is a long-standing problem. We propose a flexible, portable, and intuitive metric for such scenarios: the InterModel Vigorish (IMV). The IMV is based on a series of bets involving weighted coins, well-characterized physical systems with tractable probabilities. The IMV has a number of desirable properties including an interpretable and portable scale and an appropriate sensitivity to outcome prevalence. We showcase its flexibility across examples spanning the social, biomedical, and physical sciences. We demonstrate how it can be used to provide straightforward interpretation of logistic regression coefficients and to provide insights about the value of different types of item response theory (IRT) models. The IMV allows for precise answers to questions about changes in model fit in a variety of settings in a manner that will be useful for furthering research with binary outcomes.


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Ashley Taconet, Program Evaluation Certificate Grad, Earns Award

Ashley Taconet, a graduate of RMME’s Graduate Certificate in Program Evaluation Program and a current doctoral student in Neag’s Educational Psychology department, earned one of five scholarships awarded to graduate students by the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition in 2022. Ashley earned this award for the project entitled, “Examining Independent Living Skills and Economic Hardship for Youth with Disabilities Using Data from the NLTS2012”. See this announcement for more details.

Congratulations on this stellar accomplishment, Ashley!


RMME Community Members Contribute to Construct Validation Article

Dr. Graham Rifenbark (an RMME alumnus), Dr. H. Jane Rogers (retired RMME faculty member), Dr. Hariharan Swaminathan (retired RMME faculty member), Ashley Taconet (RMME Program Evaluation Certificate graduate) and Shannon Langdon (RMME Program Evaluation Certificate graduate) contributed to a recently published article lead by Dr. Allison Lombardi, entitled: “Establishing Construct Validity of a Measure of Adolescent Perceptions of College and Career Readiness” in the journal, Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals. Congratulations to all of the authors of this new paper!



The purpose of this study was to establish construct validity of a college and career readiness measure using a sample of youth with (n = 356) and without (n = 1,599) disabilities from five high schools across three U.S. states. We established content validity through expert item review, structural validity through initial field-testing, and convergent validity by correlating domain scores with school academic and behavioral data. A four-factor measurement model emerged representing the domains Ownership of Learning, Academic Engagement and Processes, Interpersonal Engagement, and Career Development. Domain scores were significantly correlated with achievement, college admission exam scores, and attendance. Implications for research and practice with an emphasis on transition service delivery via multi-tiered systems of support are discussed.

Dr. D. Betsy McCoach and Pamela M. Peters Honored at NAGC 2022

Neag Researchers Earn Awards at NAGC 2022
Neag School of Education researchers earn awards at the 2022 annual meeting of the National Association for Gifted Children (Left to Right: Dr. Susan Dulong Langley, Dr. Del Siegle, Dr. D. Betsy McCoach, Pamela M. Peters [Photo Credit: Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development, Facebook:]

The RMME Community celebrates researchers from the Neag School of Education, who received awards at the 2022 annual meeting of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC).

RMME Professor, Dr. D. Betsy McCoach, earned recognition as the 2022 NAGC Distinguished Scholar. In this capacity, she gave a featured presentation entitled: “How Can We Answer the Most Fundamental Questions in Gifted Education?” [NAGC Press Release]

Dr. McCoach also received an award for her contributions to the Gifted Child Quarterly Paper of the Year. [NAGC Press Release]

In addition, Pam Peters (RMME doctoral student), earned a Carolyn Callahan Doctoral Student Award for her “exemplary work in research, publications, and educational service, as well as…potential for future scholarship.” [NAGC Press Release]

Congratulations to these two outstanding scholars and all of this year’s NAGC award winners!

SAVE THE DATE! Modern Modeling Methods Returns to UConn!



Mark your calendar! The Modern Modeling Methods (M3) conference returns to UConn after a lengthy pandemic-induced hiatus. From June 26-28, 2023, M3 will resume as an in-person conference on the Storrs campus. Keynote speakers and workshop presenters include Bengt MuthenTihomir Asparouhov, and Ellen Hamaker. Remember to check the M3 website regularly for more information and updates.


Upcoming RMME/STAT Colloquium (11/11): Dylan Small, “Testing an Elaborate Theory of a Causal Hypothesis”

RMME/STAT Joint Colloquium

Testing an Elaborate Theory of a Causal Hypothesis

Dr. Dylan Small
University of Pennsylvania

Friday, November 11, at 11AM ET

When R.A. Fisher was asked what can be done in observational studies to clarify the step from association to causation, he replied, “Make your theories elaborate” — when constructing a causal hypothesis, envisage as many different consequences of its truth as possible and plan observational studies to discover whether each of these consequences is found to hold. William Cochran called “this multi-phasic attack…one of the most potent weapons in observational studies.” Statistical tests for the various pieces of the elaborate theory help to clarify how much the causal hypothesis is corroborated. In practice, the degree of corroboration of the causal hypothesis has been assessed by verbally describing which of the several tests provides evidence for which of the several predictions. This verbal approach can miss quantitative patterns. So, we developed a quantitative approach to making statistical inference about the amount of the elaborate theory that is supported by evidence. This is joint work with Bikram Karmakar.


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RMME Community Members Earn NAGC Awards

The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) recently announced its 2022 NAGC Award recipients, and RMME Programs has multiple reasons to celebrate!


*Dr. D. Betsy McCoach (RMME Professor) earned NAGC’s Distinguished Scholar Award.

*Pamela M. Peters (RMME Doctoral Student) earned NAGC’s Carolyn Callahan Doctoral Student Award.

*Dr. D. Betsy McCoach (RMME Professor) co-authored a NAGC Gifted Child Quarterly Paper of the Year written by Susan Dulong Langley, E. Jean Gubbins, D. Betsy McCoach, Karen Ottone-Cross, and Del Siegle.


Congratulations to Dr. McCoach, Pamela, and all of this year’s NAGC Award recipients!


RMME Faculty Member, Dr. Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead, Named Co-Editor-In-Chief of Leading Evaluation Journal

Congratulations to RMME Faculty Member, Dr. Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead, who was recently named Co-Editor-In-Chief of the exceptional evaluation journal, New Directions for Evaluation (see announcement here). This publication is one of two published by the premier professional organization for evaluators, the American Evaluation Association. Dr. Montrosse-Moorhead will serve in this role for the next three years with colleague, Dr. Sarah Mason, from the University of Mississippi. Check out this  UConn Today article for more. And congratulations again to the well-deserving Dr. Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead on this outstanding appointment!