QME alum factors a variety of perspectives into measurement

Kyle Nickodem, PhD, ’20

Early on, Kyle Nickodem, PhD, alumni of the Department of Educational Psychology’s quantitative methods in education (QME) program, became intrigued by a single number’s questionable ability to represent the complexity of the human mind. He stumbled across this realization during his work in a research lab during his undergraduate career, and was thereafter inspired to explore the measurement of complex constructs.

With the ultimate goal of improving the rigor of psychological research, Nickodem spent two years as an AmeriCorps member supporting the college preparation of 40 high school upperclassmen.

“I saw first-hand how test scores were sometimes more indicative of students’ ability to take a timed test, rather than their knowledge of the subject area.”

Following his experiences and observations at AmeriCorps, he selected the QME program at the University of Minnesota for its emphasis on solving practical measurement issues.

During his time in the QME program, Nickodem enjoyed learning and collaborating with people who brought such a vast variety of perspectives, both academically and culturally.

“Faculty and students came from all over the world, which helped us see how measurement issues arose in different contexts and often required culturally sensitive solutions. Academically, people brought their knowledge from backgrounds in statistics, computer science, policy, psychology, education, health, and more. It was fascinating to see how all these fields intersected through the lens of measurement.”

His studies led him to work for the Research Methodology Consulting Center (RMCC) for his graduate assistantship. Nickodem offered consultations to graduate students working on their theses, as well as working with faculty on their research projects. He is currently employed as the research statistician in the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s School of Education where he does similar work.

“[No matter what kind of project I am working on], I draw extensively on my experiences working at RMCC.”

Beyond academics, Nickodem encourages students to engage in activities together and explore all that the Twin Cities and the University of Minnesota community have to offer.

“A few of us QME students were on an intermural soccer team with graduate students from other fields and representing nearly a dozen countries…. The Twin Cities are fantastically bikeable which makes it easy to explore surrounding neighborhoods, discover new parks, restaurants, and pubs, and attend the many wonderful summer festivals without worrying about traffic.”