The chair was named after Philip Abraham Kohnstamm (1875-1951), the father of scientific educational theory and didactic method in the Netherlands. The VBSP was founded in 1925 by a group of professors headed by Philip Abraham Kohnstamm, and would later go on to become the supervisory body for education.
Van der Ark will be conducting research into methodological and statistical problems related to the measurement of personality traits and skills by means of tests and questionnaires. His main research topic involves the development of statistical models for designing tests and questionnaires, including item response theory models, latent class models and marginal models. He will also be developing methods for determining test reliability and handling missing data. In addition, he will be conducting research into methods for developing test norms.
In the context of the Kohnstamm Chair, he will focus on the dissemination of quantitative research methods. On the one hand, he will be modernising the quantitative research methods used within the Pedagogy, Educational Sciences and Teaching Training programmes, while, on the other hand, he will devote attention to postgraduate continuing education in the quantitative research methods for professionals, including instructors, teachers, educators and educational scientists.
Van der Ark has worked as an associate professor at the UvA since 2014. He was previously affiliated with Tilburg University. Van der Ark serves on the academic advisory council of Cito and is chair of the publication committee of the Psychometric Society. He is an editorial member of various professional journals, including the Journal of Educational Measurement.