Val Shute is a professor at Florida State University. Before coming to FSU in 2007, she was a principal research scientist at Educational Testing Service (2001-2007) where she was involved with basic and applied research projects related to assessment, cognitive diagnosis, and learning from advanced instructional systems and where she generally honed her psychometric skills. Prior to ETS, Val worked in industry for two years, and before that, she was enthusiastically employed at the Air Force Research Lab in San Antonio, Texas (1986-1999).
She earned a Ph.D. in cognitive/educational psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1984), and held a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Learning Research and Development Center.
Her general research interests hover around the design, development, and evaluation of advanced systems to support competencies. Towards this end, she's been involved in (a) exploratory and confirmatory tests of aptitude-treatment interactions using the controlled environments offered by intelligent tutoring systems, (b) student modeling research (currently evangelizing the use of evidence-centered design), and (c) developing automated knowledge elicitation and organization tools. An example of current research involves using immersive games with stealth assessment to support learning—of cognitive and noncognitive knowledge and skills. Another example of current research involves externalizing mental models and assessing understanding of complex phenomena. Towards that end, she and her colleagues are developing a suite of model-based tools that are used to assess understanding and provide the basis for informative and reflective feedback during instruction.