Mark L. Davison

Mark L. Davison

Title: John P. Yackel and American Guidance Service Professor of Educational Assessment and Measurement
University of Minnesota
Maple Grove, Minnesota, United States of America

Mark L. Davison, John P. Yackel and American Guidance Service Professor of Educational Assessment and Measurement at the University of Minnesota, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in the field of academic assessments.

With more than 30 years of experience in higher education to his credit, Dr. Davison has become an authority in his field.  He has served as the program coordinator for the Quantitative Methods in Education track and as an American Guidance Service, Inc./John P. Yackel Professor of Educational Assessment and Measurement at the University of Minnesota.  He chaired the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota from 1990 – 1996, directed the University of Minnesota’s Office of Educational Accountability from 1998 – 2004, and co-directed the Minnesota Interdisciplinary Training in Educational Research (MITER) Program from 2005 – 2012.  Dr. Davison excelled as the editor of Applied Psychological Measurement from 2006 – 2012.

Prior to becoming an esteemed educator, Dr. Davison pursued higher education with a Bachelor of Arts from Augustana College of Illinois in 1970.  He earned a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1972 and 1974, respectively.  Dr. Davison was mentored by Dr. Ralph W. Hansen as an undergraduate, by Drs. Lawrence E. Jones and Lloyd G. Humphreys as a graduate student, and by Drs. James R. Rest, James S. Terwilliger, and David J. Weiss during his career at the University of Minnesota.  He authored the book “Multidimensional Scaling” which has been reprinted and translated into Russian, and he has contributed many articles to professional journals. He helped found and coordinate the “CanAm Online Symposium Series in Educational Research Methods,” sponsored by five universities in Canada and the U.S.  Dr. Davison is proud to have assisted in the development of Minnesota’s educational standards, assessment, and accountability system.  Such systems help assure an appropriate focus on achievement given the many competing demands on the schools.  By standardizing content across schools, standards help ensure an equal opportunity for all students to learn the content irrespective of which school they attend.

Outside of his professional responsibilities, Dr. Davison remains informed of the changes and advancements in his field through relevant organizations.  He is a member of the National Council on Measurement in Education, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Beta Kappa, the Psychometric Society, the American Psychological Association, and the American Educational Research Association.  He chaired the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Psychological Testing and Assessment from 1996 – 1997.  He is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and the American Psychological Association (APA) having served as President of APA’s Division 5 (Evaluation, Measurement, & Statistics) in 1995-96.

In 1978, he married his wife and sometimes co-author Dr. Leslie J. (Danuser) Davison, the love of his life, an accomplished university professor, author of several textbooks on keyboarding, and the cornerstone of their family.  The Professors Davison have two children and five grandchildren.  In his free time, Dr. Davison enjoys jogging, swimming, paddle boarding, and reading history or historical biographies.  He has served on local and state education advisory committees and on his local transit board.

In the past 150 years, there has been enormous progress, particularly in the development of new technology.  At the same time, there have been advances in procedures for identifying talent, educating talent, and placing people in positions where they can make the best use of their talents.  In Dr. Davison’s opinion, these advancements in the identification, training, and placement of talent have made a substantial contribution to the progress of the last 150 years.  He has spent his career researching methods for identifying and placing such talent.  He considers the University of Minnesota to be one of the most comprehensive research universities in the world, and one of the best universities of this type.  As a result, he has spent the last 30 years surrounded by some of the brightest minds and most promising young people anywhere.  Having been in the profession for over 30 years has given him the opportunity to witness the remarkable accomplishments of students with whom he has worked.

Researchers in his field have long believed that if two people can both produce a correct response, the one who can produce it faster has higher ability.  Computerized testing now makes it possible to monitor the time that it takes students to produce correct responses on assessment tasks.  His research team is currently working on ways to better measure human abilities and human learning by taking into account, not just whether a person can perform a task correctly, but also how much time it takes to produce the correct response.  Using both the accuracy and response times of student answers, we may be better able to monitor students’ educational progress.

He has long believed that people choose their college majors and occupational fields based on the pattern of their interests, personality, and abilities. He has spent much of the last 30 years studying how patterns of interests, personality, and abilities are related to the choice of an academic major or occupational field and to success in one’s chosen field.  It is his opinion that such research will lead to even greater improvements in the identification, training, and placement of people into fields that make the most of their talents, and this in turn, will contribute to breakthroughs of the future.

In light of his many achievements in the field, Dr. Davison has received a number of accolades throughout his career. He received a fellowship from the United States Navy in 1988 and has been supported by grants from the United States Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences from 2005 to 2019. Dr. Davison won the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Minnesota in 2017. He has been featured in the 64th through 68th editions of Who’s Who in America and the 28th edition of Who’s Who in the World.

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