Alina von Davier has joined ACT to lead ACTNext, a new research and development center dedicated to developing ground-breaking learning and assessment systems that can be used at scale in authentic, real-world scenarios.
“ACT is committed to leading our industry into a new era of educational measurement, and we are forming a team of top scientists to reach that goal,” said Marten Roorda, CEO. “Our new center will develop systems for adaptive learning and products and services. Dr. von Davier is uniquely qualified to turn this vision into a reality in ways that will enhance the learning of students around the world.”
A consistent theme of von Davier’s career has been an emphasis on fairness and personalization in education. This includes her research on adaptive testing, in which online and computer-based tests “adapt” in real-time based on the responses examinees provide, to performance assessments that provide insights about the ways people process information.
“Across society, people are interested in not merely improving the learning and assessment systems we have, but in redesigning them so they reflect how people actually teach, learn, and work in ways that are seamlessly integrated with the learning experience,” said von Davier.
“Traditional assessments are unable to address certain questions about why students perform as they do, or to assess important constructs like collaboration. Recent advances in technology, algorithms and data modeling are able to provide actionable evidence that can help students reach their potential.”
Von Davier earned her PhD in mathematics from Otto von Guericke University in Germany, and her master’s degree, also in mathematics, from the University of Bucharest in Bucharest, Romania. She has written or co-authored more than 100 books, book chapters, peer-reviewed articles, or software programs on topics ranging from data mining to collaborative learning to game-based assessments.
She has also taught in varying capacities at universities around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Germany, Malaysia, Romania, Sweden, and the United States. She is the current Chair of the editorial board for Psychometrika and chair of the Education Division at Association of Test Publishers. Since 2010 she has been a member of the board of trustees for the International Journal of Testing, and for the past five years she has served as an associate editor for Psychometrika. She is fluent in English, German, and her native Romanian.