This award recognizes outstanding master's theses or doctoral dissertations that employ empirical research methods and use IEA data.
The award, established by IEA in 1985 as a memorial to the late Dr Bruce H. Choppin, takes the form of a certificate and a prize of €500. Two awards, one for the best submission at the master's level and one at the doctoral level, are offered annually.
For each year's competition, the thesis or dissertation submitted must have been completed within the three years preceding the entry deadline (31 March of that year). Applicants should submit to IEA:
- an extended (10-page) summary of their thesis or dissertation in English and in electronic form;
- a cover sheet stating the title of the thesis, the university at which it was completed, and the name and contact information of the applicant.
Short-listed applicants will be asked to provide a copy of their complete thesis.
Dr Bruce H. Choppin studied mathematics at Cambridge University in the UK before attending the University of Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D. in the area of measurement, evaluation, and statistical analysis. He was closely connected with IEA from 1963 until his death in 1983. His first work with IEA involved data analysis for England's national report of the First International Mathematics Study. He later undertook a small-scale exploratory study with Dr Alan Purves designed to measure student understanding and appreciation of literary prose and poetry. Dr Choppin was also involved in the conceptualization, instrument construction, and data analysis phases of the Six Subject Survey. He was the international coordinator for an item banking project carried out by IEA, chair of the IEA Training Committee, and head of the IEA Data Processing Unit in New York from 1969 to 1972.
Dr Choppin was an early proponent of the Rasch method of scaling aptitude and achievement test scores. He was at the center of a debate about Rasch scaling in the 1970s, a time when this method was still looked upon with skepticism by those in the field of testing. In 1974 he published a monograph for IEA, The Correction for Guessing on Objective Tests: A Report of the General Findings of the IEA Study of Guessing Behavior. He established the journal Evaluation in Education (later known as the International Journal of Educational Research) with Prof Neville Postlethwaite as co-editor. In addition to his work with IEA, Dr Choppin also worked for several years at the National Foundation for Educational Research in England, the Science Education Centre in Israel, and both the University of California and Cornell University in the United States.
Dr Choppin passed away in Chile in 1983, having gone there to help the country's national research coordinator for the IEA Written Composition Study. His ashes are buried in London.