ACT, Inc. Senior Research Scientist, Validity and Efficacy in Iowa City, Iowa


ACT is a nonprofit organization helping people achieve educational and workplace success. Our programs are designed to boost lifelong learning in schools and workplaces around the world. Whether it's guiding students along their learning paths, enabling companies to develop their workforce, fostering parent, teacher, and counselor understanding of student progress, guiding job seekers toward career success, or informing policymakers about education and workforce issues. ACT is passionate about making a difference in all we do.

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Position objective:The Senior Research Scientist will contribute to the mission of the Validity and Efficacy Research department, which is to demonstrate the value of ACT products and services by researching the appropriateness of their proposed uses as well as their effectiveness in improving intended learner outcomes. The accumulated evidence of these studies will drive product improvement and new product development with the ultimate goal of maximizing the likelihood of having a meaningful impact on intended learner outcomes.

The position will design and conduct rigorous studies to evaluate the validity and efficacy of ACT’s education and workforce solutions, which consists of a diverse portfolio of technology-rich learning and assessment tools; develop validity and efficacy arguments for current and new ACT products and services; determine and document evidence needed to support validity and efficacy claims for all ACT products and services; research and develop holistic models of educational and workplace success. The job requires someone with strong communication, research design, and validity and evaluation research skills.

Essential job responsibilities:

Typical work-related activities include:

  • Employ a variety of research methods, including descriptive, correlational, and experimental research methods along with analysis techniques for unstructured, complex data, to evaluate the effectiveness of ACT products and services for improving learner outcomes

  • Design, conduct, interpret, and present the results of quantitative and qualitative research focusing on the broad areas of educational and workplace readiness and success

  • Maintain knowledge of current events and trends in learning and education and workforce readiness, and of developments in research design and evaluation and validity theory and methods

  • Increase visibility of ACT research through publications, presentations, and presence across relevant national and international research communities

  • Participate within ACT Research and across ACT in creating an open, innovative, and collaborative environment



  • PhD in educational measurement, educational psychology, cognitive psychology, instructional design, learning design, statistics, quantitative psychology, or other related research-based fields

  • Or an equivalent combination of education and experience from which comparable knowledge and abilities can be acquired


  • A minimum of five years of related post-doctorate experience in validity and evaluation research, theory, and methods

  • Experience developing validity and efficacy arguments

  • Knowledge of advanced data-analytics and statistical modeling

  • Experience analyzing unstructured, complex data (e.g., log files, assessment results)

  • Extensive professional achievement demonstrated through peer-reviewed journals and presentations and participation in relevant national and international research communities

  • Experience with validating technology-rich assessments and learning tools preferred

  • Experience in evaluation study designs preferred

  • Experience in applied research and development preferred


  • Strong computer programming skills, including statistical software; proficient programming skills in R or Python preferred

  • Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

  • Ability to write for, and present to, non-technical audiences

  • Exceptional collaborator and team member


Starting salary commensurate with qualifications. Excellent benefits and work environment.

Job ID2018-1198

of Openings1


TravelUp to 25% Travel

ACT is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled.