Jim Wollack - Director


After receiving my Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996, I began working as a Scientist in the UW Center for Placement Testing, before becoming Director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Testing and Evaluation Services (T&E) and the UW-System Center for Placement Testing in 2007.  As Director, I oversee all aspects of T&E and the Center, set strategic directions, develop and monitor budgets, evaluate programming and personnel, maintain an active research program, and serve as the UW-Madison campus liaison for assessment issues.

My research program has tied in very closely with a number of measurement issues that have evolved through working with the placement tests. At some level, the problems I have studied all relate to improving the validity and interpretability of test scores. Much of my research has centered on aspects of test security, and most specifically, detection of cheating. I have developed several statistical indexes for detecting answer copying, including the frequently used index. I have conducted several studies in which I have examined the properties of many different indexes under different testing conditions, helped establish best practices for implementing cheating indexes, and identified strategies for improving detection rates of true copiers. As a result of my work in this field, I recently had the opportunity to co-author a chapter on test administration, security, scoring, and reporting in the 4th edition of Educational Measurement. In addition to my work in test security, I helped develop a statistical model to account for test speededness effects experienced by examinees who have insufficient time to complete the test. Through a series of studies, I have demonstrated that application of this model improves estimates of the item characteristics and helps to reduce systematic error in a score scale. More recently, I have explored a variety of models for measuring item performance over time and have demonstrated that some commonly used models are vulnerable to longitudinal changes in item performance, as might be expected due to item over-exposure or curricular changes.

Every semester, I teach a research seminar course for the Educational Psychology Department, aimed at exposing quantitative methods doctoral students to current research and to discuss any design issues, possible extensions, and practical or theoretical implications of the research. In addition, I lead numerous workshops throughout the year to UW-Madison faculty, instructional staff, and TAs on topics such as test construction, grading, and assessment.

I was elected as a Fellow in the University of Wisconsin Teaching Academy in 2005. I am also an Associate Professor in the Quantitative Methods area within the Educational Psychology Department.


Goegebeur, Y., DeBoeck, P., Wollack, J. A., & Cohen, A. S. (2008).  A speeded item response model with gradual process change. Psychometrika, 73, 65-87.

Cohen, A. S., & Wollack, J. A. (2006). Test administration, security, scoring, and reporting. In. R. L. Brennan (Ed.) Educational Measurement (4th ed., pp. 355-386). Westport, CT: American Council on Education/Praeger.

Wollack, J. A. (2006). Simultaneous Use of Multiple Answer Copying Indexes to Improve Detection Rates. Applied Measurement in Education, 19, 265-288.

Wollack, J. A. (2003). Comparison of Answer Copying Indices on Real Data. Journal of Educational Measurement, 40, 189-205.

Wollack, J. A., Cohen, A. S., & Wells, C. S. (2003). A method for maintaining scale stability in the presence of test speededness. Journal of Educational Measurement, 40, 307-330.

Bolt, D. M., Cohen, A. S., & Wollack, J. A. (2002). Item parameter estimation under conditions of test speededness: Application of a mixture Rasch model with ordinal constraints. Journal of Educational Measurement 39, 331-348.

Wollack, J. A. (1997). A nominal response model approach to detect answer coping. Applied Psychological Measurement, 21(4), 307-320.




Educational Sciences Bldg., Room 373
1025 W. Johnson Street
Madison, WI 53706

Phone: (608) 262-5863
Fax: (608) 263-4291

email: jwollack@wisc.edu



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