Dr. Ernest C. Davenport, Jr.
I fulfilled the requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in both computer science and psychology at Duke University while taking more courses in math than in any other discipline. I received a master of arts and a doctorate in Quantitative Psychology (a blend of mathematical models for cognition, psychometrics, statistics, and computer science) at the L. L. Thurstone Psychometric Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In conjunction with my doctorate I completed a minor in biostatistics. I pursued my Ph.D. to study learning and measurement to better understand achievement gaps. My interest in learning transformed from a cognitive perspective (how and why people learn) to exploring indicators of learning as they relate to differential experiences.
I have been a faculty member in the Quantitative Methods in Education program in the Department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota since 1986. I teach courses in statistics, data analysis, and measurement. I study the relationship between various student experiences and academic success (relation of course-taking to achievement, correlates of dropping out of school, experiential links to achievement gaps, etc.). I also study methodological artifacts of statistical procedures and issues surrounding linear models (exploring indicators of structure, profile analysis, proper representation of data, etc.).
I have served as the director of an ACT/SAT review course for at-risk students since 1992. The review provides information and opportunities to help students increase their college admission test scores and college preparedness. The review has 6 facets. It addresses content, test-taking skills, test practice, academic advising, personal factors, and the college application process. In addition it addresses aspects of being a successful student once matriculated. I have also designed test preparation courses for several other agencies serving a similar demographic, as well as held “train the trainer” sessions for those wishing to develop their own programs. I have designed and implemented a GRE review session for undergraduate students in summer bridge programs and have also worked more broadly in the area of college access for under-represented students.
Finally, I was a senior research scientist and one of the founders of Minnesota’s Office of Educational Accountability (OEA). OEA was created by the Minnesota legislature to assist with its efforts in educational accountability. It was an independent office to analyze and report on the needs of students and condition of education in Minnesota as reflected in a comprehensive set of indicators. OEA reports were designed to inform and facilitate improvement of education statewide. As part of our mission we published an annual “State of education in Minnesota” report. We also published special reports around issues of accountability. OEA was closed in its eighth year due to defunding by the Minnesota legislature. A list of available online documents form OEA is at http://cehd.umn.edu/oea/.