Dr. Mary Maxwell received her B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Montevallo in 2006 and her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Alabama in 2013.She received the Outstanding Teaching by a Doctoral Candidate award in April of 2011.
Dr. Maxwell was a full-time adjunct faculty member at UM during her last year as a Ph.D. student, and she joined the UM faculty as an assistant professor in August 2013. Dr. Maxwell teaches a variety of courses including Discrete Mathematics, Calculus I, Nature of Mathematics, Pre-calculus, Introductory Statistics, Finite Mathematics, and Mathematical Statistics.
Dr. Maxwell’s research interest is in a Bayesian approach to item response theory (IRT), which reflects her interest in assessment and mathematics education. Many different statistical techniques come together under the umbrella of IRT, including model-data fit, hypothesis testing, factor analysis, residual analysis, maximum likelihood estimation techniques and Bayesian estimation methods. She has advised several senior thesis projects related to IRT, two of which were presented on Undergraduate Research Day.
Dr. Maxwell recently published a paper “Item efficiency: an item response theory parameter with applications for improving the reliability of mathematics assessment” which was the result of ongoing research into the reliability of high-stakes mathematics exams such as the final exams in college algebra courses.