Alka Arora

Senior Researcher

Alka Arora is a senior researcher at AIR with more than 15 years of experience in large-scale comparative studies of educational achievement. In her current position, she provides technical and psychometric support for the development of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) across all NAEP subjects. Additionally, she provides content support for various Mathematics and Science studies undertaken by NCES, including but not limited to NAEP and international large-scale assessments (TIMSS, TIMSS advanced, and PISA). Dr. Arora also conducts analysis, interprets results, and writes reports for stakeholders in support of various surveys’ reporting activities. She is also active in secondary research analysis of large scale international (TIMSS and PISA) and national (NAEP) assessment data. 

Dr. Arora has shouldered extensive research at AIR on students’ incorrect responses in the context of large-scale assessments to learn/understand the sources of their errors and misunderstandings. The recent work she authored is an open access report from Springer, “Student Misconceptions and Errors in Physics and Mathematics: Exploring Data from TIMSS and TIMSS Advanced.” Another similar work is an NCES publication, “U.S. Performance on the 2015 TIMSS Advanced Mathematics and Physics Assessments: A Closer Look.” She has contributed to many framework and item pool comparison studies to compare NAEP with other frameworks and international assessments such as TIMSS and PISA. She recently authored a study examining the mathematical expectations in the Next Generation Science Standards.

Before joining AIR, Dr. Arora worked at the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College, where she coordinated all stages of TIMSS and TIMSS Advanced assessments, including developing assessment frameworks, achievement items, and scoring guides, and conducting data analysis and reporting activities. She co-authored numerous reports and technical documentation while working at the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center. Prior to that, she served as a senior secondary science and mathematics teacher in India.

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Ph.D., Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation, Boston College; M.Ed., Education Measurement and Education Technology, M.S., Physics, B.Ed., Physics and Mathematics Education, and B.S., Physics, Delhi University, India