Innovations in Researching STEM Teaching & Learning

This was an interactive session highlighting the current methodological approaches in STEM teaching and learning research. Investigators from the REESE community spoke briefly about innovative measures, methods, and data analysis tools they are using in their REESE projects to understand STEM teaching and learning. The goal of the workshop was for PIs to reflect on how these new tools might be useful to them in answering their current or future research questions. Ample time was allowed for clarification of methods, discussion among PIs, and resources for further information about the methods. Presentations of REESE research included:

  • Jennifer Cromley, Innovations in Researching STEM Teaching and Learning: Measures, Methods and Data Analysis  [PDF]
  • Sapna Cheryan, Using Second Life to Study How Stereotypes Influence Academic Aspirations  [PDF]
  • Jennifer Cromley, Coordinating Paper-and-pencil and Eye Tracking Data to Understand Results of a Classroom Intervention  [PDF]
  • Julia Melkers, Survey-Based Social Network Data for Higher Education STEM Studies  [PDF]
  • Chandra Orrill, Using Mixture Rasch Models, Cognitive Interviews, and Case Studies to Understand Professional Development
  • Carol Sansone, Studying Self-Regulated Learning: Going Online  [PDF]
  • David Williamson Shaffer, Assessing Complex Thinking Through Epistemic Network Analysis  [PDF]

A PDF of the evaluation form for this meeting can be downloaded here.

About the Speakers

Jennifer Cromley is an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology in the department of Psychological Studies in Education in the Temple College of Education. Her research concerns the roles of cognition and motivation in comprehension of text and in academic achievement, broadly construed. She is PI of two NSF-funded projects (Teaching Effective Use of Diagrammatic Reasoning in Biology and A Multi-Method Approach to Understanding Dropout from STEM Gateway Courses) and is Temple site PI of an IES-funded project (The 21st Century Center for Cognition and Science Instruction). She serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Educational Psychology, American Educational Research Journal [Section on Teaching, Learning, and Human Development—TLHD], and Contemporary Educational Psychology. Her teaching focuses on educational psychology and applied statistics in education research.

Julia Melkers is an Associate Professor of Public Policy in the Ivan Allen School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Melkers' work addresses collaboration and outcomes in STEM fields and the use and development of performance measures in public organizations, with a special emphasis on publicly-funded science and technology-based institutions. Both her academic and applied research has been well recognized nationally and internationally. Her current funded work addresses the outcomes of science, and issues around scientific collaboration, career development and mentoring of junior faculty, doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows. She is currently co-principal investigator on a major NSF-funded project to examine the characteristics and role of social and research networks for academic scientists and engineers (“Women in Science and Engineering: Network Access, Participation, and Career Outcomes”). She is also co-principal investigator on two multi-year evaluation projects of NSF-funded research centers -- the Mid-America Earthquake Center (MAE) and the Center for Learning in Formal and Informal Environments (LIFE).

Chandra Orrill is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the STEM department at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth where she is also a Research Scientist in the Kaput Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University before joining the Learning and Performance Support Lab at the University of Georgia where she was a Research Scientist for over 9 years. Chandra's research focuses on mathematics teacher knowledge and professional development in the middle grades. Her current work is specifically focused on how teachers reason about and teach about fractions and proportions and how we can assess teacher knowledge in ways that support more effective professional development. Technology often plays an important role in her work because it allows teachers to develop richer understandings of mathematics, facilitates meaningful conversations about mathematics, and promotes reflection on how to teach mathematics.

David Shaffer is a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Educational Psychology and a Game Scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Before coming to the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Shaffer taught grades 4-12 in the United States and abroad, including two years working with the Asian Development Bank and US Peace Corps in Nepal. His M.S. and Ph.D. are from the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he taught in the Technology and Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Shaffer was a 2008-2009 European Union Marie Curie Fellow. He studies how new technologies change the way people think and learn.

Carol Sansone is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Utah. Her research examines the process through which people regulate their interest and motivation in day-to-day life, using social and non-social means. She is interested in how this process might differ as a function of person characteristics (such as gender) and across the life span, and in the applications of this work to selection of and persistence in math and science careers and to online learning. She is a Fellow of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, The American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science. She served as an Associate Editor for the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and has served on the editorial boards of a number of journals in social psychology and personality (e.g., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Motivation and Emotion, Learning and Instruction), and as a consultant for several granting agencies (Including NSF). She previously edited a special issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology on "New Directions in Intrinsic Motivation and Creativity" (1999), a book (with J.M. Harackiewicz as co-editor) published by Academic Press entitled, "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: The Search for Optimal Motivation and Performance" (2000), and a Book (WITH C. MORF AND A. PANTER) published by Sage entitled “Sage Handbook of Methods in Social Psychology” (2004).

Sapna Cheryan is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology department at the University of Washington. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University. Additionally, she received her B.A. in Psychology/American Studies from Northwestern University. Her research broadly examines how cultural stereotypes impact people's choices and behaviors. She is particularly interested in the role that stereotypes play in determining people's sense of belonging to important social groups.