Research

Learning environment model

Mapping Instructors’ Epistemologies: Recent scholarship indicates that instructors can send tacit messages about knowledge and knowing that act to shape the epistemologies students adopt. Accordingly, if the community aims for epistemologies cultivated in science class to be seem as useful in life, there is need to understand productive resources instructors have for communicating the value of epistemologies useful in-school and in-life. This project assumes that epistemologies that shape knowledge construction work in research settings (e.g., aiming to construct a plausible mechanism iteratively pieced together from what we see) have the potential to be more useful in life than epistemologies that typify school science (e.g., aiming to give a correct answer via memorizing facts). Thus, supporting instructors in activating doing science epistemologies in class assessment contexts would be expected to lead to productive learning environment changes. This project will map the epistemologies that shape instructors’ assessment practices in different settings and explore the possibility of intentionally “tipping” instructors into adopting doing science epistemologies in classroom assessment scenarios. Funded by NSF DUE 2225025

Design-research cycle

Supporting Sensemaking in High School Chemistry: We encounter phenomena around us every day – from brewing a warm drink to get us going in the morning, to driving to work, to making dinner. If we have questions about these phenomena, there are a wealth of resources available to provide quick answers to many of our inquiries. However, these efficient means of learning about the world often convey facts and trivia, not in-depth explanations about how and why phenomena around us occur. ChemLEAP re-establishes the connection between these everyday phenomena and science classrooms by opening space for students to ask and address questions they have about phenomena they observe. Our program is an attempt to re-focus chemistry classrooms around generating particle-level models that explain how and why phenomena happen and iteratively refining these models as students encounter new, relevant, interesting phenomena. Funded by NSF DRL 2003680.

Messaging Model

Modeling Epistemological Messaging: To ask questions about how (or whether) particular reform efforts support epistemologies that are productive in post-school life, we need to simplify learning environments by deciding which system components are likely to send consequential messages about knowledge and knowing, how domain-general and domain-specific messages sent by course components should be described, and how one might elicit evidence of the ways in which students experience, negotiate and respond to the many messages that bombard them over a semester. Stated succinctly, we need to build a model for how students’ epistemological understandings develop over the course of a semester as a result of interactions with different parts of the course system. The goal of this project is creation of such a model. Specifically, we aim to unpack the epistemological landscape of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in an undergraduate science course and to study how that landscape gives rise to student views of knowledge and learning in science. This model will allow the scholarly community to identify potential lever points for reform efforts grounded in a desire to support epistemological development.