IEEE Education Society Seminar: Measuring students’ opportunities to develop professional skills — lessons learned in assessing ‘hidden’ constructs in education, March 31

Attend this upcoming IEEE Education Society Seminar presented by Tiantian “Olivia” Li, a doctoral student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. This talk is co-sponsored by the ASU SenSIP Center.

Measuring students’ opportunities to develop professional skills: Lessons learned in assessing “hidden” constructs in education
Friday, March 31, 2023
1:30–2:30 p.m.
Attend on Zoom


In education, apart from assessing students’ abilities and competencies, it is also crucial to measure the “hidden” constructs. “Hidden” or latent constructs refer to things about a learner that cannot be directly observed. Examples of “hidden” constructs include self-efficacy, learning motivation, attitudes, etc. They hold great importance as they have the potential to influence and shape students’ learning experiences and outcomes. Thus, creating measurements that allow reliable, valid, and fair assessments of these latent constructs can help educators and researchers understand students’ experiences and provide them with better support.

However, because latent constructs are usually “hidden,” creating instruments for them can be tricky. In this seminar talk, Li will share her experiences as part of the research effort to create the Professional Skill Opportunity survey, or PSO, measuring a “hidden” construct. The PSO measures engineering undergraduate students’ opportunities to develop various non-technical professional skills.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, since 2021, her teams from The Ohio State University (NSF-2129308) and Purdue University (NSF-2129282) have undergone a survey development process including construct definition, expert review, cognitive interviews, survey pilot and large-scale data collection at multiple institutions. Currently, they are focusing on establishing validity evidence for the PSO and generating the intended uses for the instrument. During their survey development, they have summarized a list of essential takeaways and lessons learned, which they hope to incorporate in their future research and share with the broader education research community.

About the speaker

Tiantian “Olivia” Li is a doctoral student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering with a concentration of pharmaceutical processing engineering. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in industrial engineering. Her research interests are in assessing engineering students’ socio-technical systems thinking skills during design and understanding the experiences of international scholars in the U.S.