Category Archives: Educational Psychology

Minnesota Youth Development Research Group to present 11 times at AERA/NCME

Members of the Minnesota Youth Development Research Group (MYDRG)

Eleven proposals from students and researchers in the Minnesota Youth Development Research Group (MYDRG) have been accepted as presentations at American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) annual meetings, April 13-17 in New York City. The presentations reflect the group’s aim to explore methodological and substantive challenges in youth development, relying on the tenets of positive psychology, ecological perspectives of youth development, and the translation of research to practice.

MYDRG presentations accepted for AERA/NCME 2018

  1. Mental distress: Risk and protective factors among American Indian youth. [AERA SIG – Indigenous Peoples of the Americas] Paper Session: Place, Pathways, Persistence, and Protection in Schooling. (Ozge Ersan, Youngsoon Kang, Michael Rodriguez, Tai Do, Rik Lamm)
  2. School and community sports participation and positive youth developmental: A multilevel analysis. [AERA SIG- Research Focus on Education and Sports.] Paper Session: Youth Development through Sport in a K-12 Context. (Kyle Nickodem, Martin Van Boekel, Youngsoon Kang, Rik Lamm, Michael Rodriguez)
  3. Social capital, self-control, and academic achievement in adolescence: A structural equation modeling approach. [AERA SIG – Social and Emotional Learning] Paper Session: Social and Emotional Learning and Academic Achievement. (Wei Song, Kory Vue, Tai Do, Michael Rodriguez)
  4. The role of out-of-school-time positive experiences on risky behaviors. [AERA Division G – Section 1: Micro-analyses of the social context of teaching and learning] Roundtable: Qualitative Research Perspectives on the Roles of Students and Teachers in the Social Contexts of U.S. Public Schools. (Rik Lamm, Kory Vue, Kyle Nickodem, Tai Do, Michael Rodriguez, Martin Van Boekel)
  5. Do LGB students feel safe and why does it matter? [AERA SIG – Research Focus on Education and Sports] Paper Session: Youth Development through Sport in a K-12 Context. (Rik Lamm, Kory Vue, Tai Do, Kyle Nickodem, Michael Rodriguez)
  6. In what ways do health behaviors impact academic performance, educational aspirations, and commitment to learning? [AERA Division H – Section 1: Applied Research in Schools] Paper Session: Examining Non-Cognitive and Behavioral Outcomes. (Julio Cabrera, Michael Rodriguez, Stacy Karl, Carlos Chavez)
  7. A pathway to resilience for students who experience trauma: A structural equation modeling approach. [AERA SIG – Adolescence and Youth Development] Paper Session: Leadership & Social Relationships in Adolescent Development. (Youngsoon Kang, Mireya Smith, Ozge Ersan, Michael Rodriguez)
  8. Investigating socioeconomic status proxies: is one proxy enough? [AERA SIG – Survey Research in Education] Paper Session: Latent Analyses with Surveys in Education Research. (Julio Cabrera, Stacy Karl, Carlos Chavez, Michael Rodriguez)
  9. Response processes in noncognitive measures: Validity evidence from explanatory item response modeling. [NCME]. (Michael Rodriguez, Okan Bulut, Julio Cabrera, Kory Vue)
  10. Measurement invariance in noncognitive measures: Validity approach using explanatory item response modeling. [NCME]. (José Palma, Okan Bulut, Julio Cabrera, Youngsoon Kang)
  11. Comprehensive partitioning of student achievement variance to inform equitable policy design. [NCME]. (Kyle Nickodem, Michael Rodriguez)

About the MYDRG

MYDRG was founded by Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development Michael Rodriguez in 2007 and is made up of researchers and Department of Educational Psychology quantitative methods in education and psychological foundations of education students and alumni.

Varma receives grant-in-aid to study use of games in middle school STEM education

Keisha Varma

Keisha Varma, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program, has been awarded a Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship from the University of Minnesota’s Office of the Vice President for Research for her study, “The SciGames Project – Using Games to Support Science and Engineering Practices.”

Varma’s three-step project will investigate how board games can support middle school students’ STEM learning and problem solving behaviors by:

  1. Designing and implementing a professional development program to help teachers in a local district effectively incorporate games into their curriculum.
  2. Involving parents in the process by making them aware that the games they play at home can help their kids develop science and engineering thinking skills.
  3. Working with experts in computer and cognitive sciences specify and gather behavioral data from students’ game play for use in future studies.

The goal of the study is to gain a better understanding of how games support learning in formal and informal learning environments by answering specific research questions.

  1. Do students show improved understanding of science and engineering practices after playing various board games?
  2. Do students show improved understanding of science and engineering practices after playing high vs. low strategy games?
  3. How do teachers incorporate games into their science classroom practices?
  4. How do families view games as supports for science learning and family activities in general?

Varma plans build on this initial research with iterative studies leading to the design of digital games to support teachers in their science instruction.

Bart appointed to Education Commission of European Chess Union

Professor William Bart

William Bart, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program, has been appointed to the Education Commission of the European Chess Union. Over five million students receive chess instruction in European schools to facilitate mathematics achievement and promote the development of critical and logical thinking skills.

Congratulations to Professor Bart on this important role!

Fleury receives grant to develop reading intervention for preschoolers with autism

Veronica Fleury

Veronica Fleury, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program, has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Organization for Autism Research (OAR). The project, Students and Teachers Actively Reading Together (START), will evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of an adaptive shared reading intervention for preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

START’s first-stage intervention will be traditional dialogic reading—which encourages adults to prompt children with questions and engage them in discussions while reading to them—delivered in small groups of three to four students. Children who respond well to dialogic reading will continue with the group intervention. Those who are slower to respond will be randomized to one of two intensified instruction conditions.

This proposal is related to an application submitted to the Institute of Education Sciences for a larger four year development project that is currently under consideration.

Davison, colleagues blog for Psychology Today on causes of reading comprehension difficulties

Mark Davison

Mark Davison, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s quantitative methods in education program, and his colleagues recently wrote a blog post for Psychology Today on their assessment, MOCCA (Multiple-Choice Online Causal Comprehension Assessment). In the post, the researchers describe how MOCCA can be used to get to the root of reading comprehension struggles.

Read the full blog post.

Kohli, colleagues piecewise growth model published in Psychometrika

Nidhi Kohli, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s quantitative methods in education program, and her colleagues recently published an article,  “Detecting multiple random changepoints in Bayesian piecewise growth mixture models,” in Psychometrika.  The article highlights a piecewise growth mixture model Kohli and her colleagues developed using a Bayesian inference approach that allows the estimation of multiple random changepoints (knots) within each latent class and develops a procedure to empirically detect the number of random changepoints within each class.

The study makes a significant advancement to Kohli’s existing research program in piecewise growth models.  In all of the previous methods and applied substantive studies, researchers hypothesized and prefixed the number of unknown changepoint locations (i.e., the number of changepoints were specified in advance). There is no existing methodological study that empirically detects the number of changepoints (i.e., considers the number of changepoints as unknown and to be inferred from the data) within a unified framework for inference. This is limiting for many applications.

Piecewise studies of educational data typically assume one changepoint (Sullivan et al. 2017; Kohli et al. 2015b; Kieffer 2012). However, it is plausible that many learning trajectories will have at least two changepoints: one preceding a period of accelerated growth (an “a-ha” moment) and another preceding a period of decelerated growth (a “saturation point”) (Gallistel et al. 2004). Multiple changepoints are also plausible for many physical growth processes. For these and other applications a flexible inferential framework that allows for an arbitrary number of latent changepoints, as well as individual variation and population heterogeneity in the form of latent classes, is needed.  This method fulfills that need.

The article includes a user friendly R package that makes easy for researchers and practitioners to apply this method to their data sets.

Read the full article (including citations).

Learn more about Dr. Kohli’s research. 

 

Jitendra’s article recognized as one of top read in Exceptional Children

Asha Jitendra headshot
Asha Jitendra

Asha Jitendra, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s article, “Is Mathematical Representation of Problems an Evidence-Based Strategy for Students With Mathematics Difficulties?” was recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children’s e-newsletter as a top read article from the journal—one of the most respected in special education. Jitendra’s article evaluates the quality of the research and evidence base for representation of problems as a strategy to enhance the mathematical performance of students with learning disabilities and those at risk for mathematics difficulties. 

Read the full article here.

 

Kendeou briefs congress on educational technology for teaching reasoning, reading skills

Panayiota Kendeou

On November 7, Panayiota (Pani) Kendeou, Guy Bond Chair in Reading and associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program, presented her research on “Educational Technology for Teaching Reasoning and Reading Skills in Education” to the United States Congress.

Kendeou was one of only five  Early Career Impact Award scientists nationwide invited by the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Science (FABBS) to brief congress on their research—why it’s important, and how federal support has been instrumental in their careers so far.

Learn more about Dr. Kendeou’s research. 

Bart to keynote London Chess Conference 2017

William Bart

William Bart, professor in the psychological foundations of education program in the Department of Educational Psychology, will keynote the London Chess Conference 2017 December 2-3. It is the premier international conference for educators, researchers, and school policy makers interested in scholastic chess.

Bart’s keynote titled, “Making School Chess Research Relevant,”  will make the constructive proposal that there should be international centre for scholastic chess research to improve its quality, push its relevance and pool resources. Chess instruction is used in schools throughout the world because of its positive effects on student mathematical achievement and student thinking skills.

Learn more about Dr. Bart’s work.

Instructor profile: Annie Hansen-Burke

Annie Hansen-Burke

Annie Hansen-Burke realized her interest in supporting students when she was in high school. She pursued degrees in social work and psychology at Briar Cliff University, and wasn’t sure which path she would pursue. During her senior year, she reflected on her interests.

“I wanted to know how I could help make sure kids were not falling through the cracks, give support to those that were at risk for not completing school, and create a welcoming, healthy school climate. When I did an online search for those interests, school psychology kept coming up.,” Hansen-Burke says.

Her search for school psychology programs led her to the University of Minnesota to earn her Ph.D. At the time, Sandra Christenson was working with Check and Connect, an intervention program used with K-12 students who show warning signs of disengagement with school and who are at risk of dropping out.

“I came to the University of Minnesota largely because of Dr. Christenson. One of the elements [of her work] that appealed to me was building relationships with kids and removing barriers for them to be able to complete school.”

Now, Hansen-Burke aims to be a role model for other students. She teaches classes and coordinates fieldwork for the school psychology program.

“Working with graduate students is amazing. They bring so much energy into their work, and the level of commitment and creativity I see from them is inspiring. As a supervisor, it keeps me on top of my game because I have to be a good role model for them.”

She continues, “I’m also excited about the intellectual environment in this field. The amount that there is to know—what currently exists and what hasn’t been discovered—is thrilling to me. My learning curve has never really flattened out.”

One of Hansen-Burke’s current projects is with School Psychology Embedded Teams, working to solve the challenge of bringing school psychologists to fill the need in our school systems, while giving students the experience they need to graduate under APA guidelines.

The embedded teams model allows students to participate multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), a model of practice that relies on multiple tiers of instruction that work together to prevent school failure. MTSS includes assessments, evidence-based instruction, interventions, and data-based decision making.

As an alumna and instructor of the school psychology program, Hansen-Burke wants prospective students to know how they can benefit from the University of Minnesota.

“We pride ourselves on being thought leaders in the field of school psychology, and the faculty is awesome. They’re young, productive, and creative researchers. It’s exciting to be in this environment, both as a co-worker and a student.”

She adds, “Our dual emphasis on research-based practice and MTSS is our calling card. For people who value research and want to change systemic outcomes for kids, this is where you want to be doing it.”

Outside of school psychology, Annie considers herself a podcast aficionado and listens to about 30 different podcasts. She also has 5-year-old twins (boy and girl) who keep her busy.

Narvaez receives Expanded Reason Award for her book on neurobiology, human morality

Darcia Narvaez

Alumna and former associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Darcia Narvaez, recently received the Expanded Reason Award for research, an international award acknowledging innovation in scientific research and academic programs sponsored by University Francisco de Vitoria and the Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation.

The Expanded Reason Award for research was given to Narvaez for her work represented in her book, Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom, which has received several awards. Narvaez accepted the prize at a ceremony at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Vatican City on September 27.

Narvaez obtained her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1993, was an assistant—and later —associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development from 1993-1999, and is currently a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame.

Sashank Varma: How we learn: Understanding math patterns

Sashank Varma head shot
Sashank Varma

Math is interesting in that we routinely task young children with learning very sophisticated concepts. We now teach kids in third grade things that took mathematicians centuries to figure out. My research revolves around gaining better insight into how people understand abstract math patterns and concepts, and why some people are better at these skills than others. Hopefully, by better understanding math cognition, teachers will be able to develop better instruction and curricula. Read more. 

New graduate program trains students to analyze behavior, improve lives of people with disabilities

The new master’s degree will help meet the state and national need for Board Certified Behavior Analysts.

Approximately one in every ten people or 11.2% of people in Minnesota and 13.1% of people in the United States are living with some kind of disability according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

It’s with that in mind that Jennifer McComas, associate chair and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, developed the new master’s degree in special education with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis (A.B.A).

Jennifer McComas

“The new program is designed to teach students about the principles of behavior,” explains McComas, “how to recognize the influence of social interactions and other environmental variables and recommend changes to improve the day-to-day lives of people with disabilities.”

Now approved by the national Behavior Analyst Certification Board, the A.B.A. program is designed prepare students to sit for their Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam and to work with people with disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities.

“The M.A. is a good fit for psychology and education majors and those interested in applied research who want to make a difference in the world around them,” McComas says.

A full-time, on campus program, the M.A. in special education with an emphasis in A.B.A. is currently accepting applications for fall 2018. Students who enroll in the program will be required to complete 36 total credits (nine credits in four semesters), including three semesters of practical experience working alongside a BCBA. They’ll also complete a final research project, guided by University of Minnesota faculty and staff, like McComas, who are experts in the area of applied behavior analysis.

“We’ll approach applied behavior analysis from a scientific perspective,” McComas says. “Students will be challenged to become consumers of research and prepared for the real world through supportive supervisory experience, which is essential when working with people with disabilities.”

Amy Hewitt

Amy Hewitt is a senior research associate with the Institute for Community Integration at the University of Minnesota and has worked for over 30 years to improve community inclusion and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities and their families.

“This new program is timely and responds to a critical need in Minnesota. With newly implemented policies that fund early intensive behavioral intervention for people with autism and the focus on positive behavioral support in the MN Olmstead Plan there is a high need for qualified professionals,” Hewitt says. “This program will help to ease the high demand to grow this workforce.”

Graduates of the program will help meet the state and national need for BCBAs who work with people with disabilities to identify opportunities to make positive behavior changes leading to more fulfilling lives.

McMaster delivers keynote at Korean Educational Psychology Association

McMaster delivers keynote at KEPA.

Kristen McMaster, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program, keynoted the 50th anniversary conference of the Korean Educational Psychology Association (KEPA) on October 20. McMaster presented her research on “Using Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies to Promote Reading Achievement for Students at Risk.”

Congratulations to Dr. McMaster on this great honor!

McMaster, Shin, and Jung present research on data-based instruction at ICER in South Korea

Kristen McMaster, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program, Jaehyun Shin, a postdoctoral fellow working with McMaster, and Pyung-Gang Jung, an alumna of the special education Ph.D. program now working at EWHA Womans University, presented at the International Conference for Learning Research (ICER) in Seoul, South Korea on October 19.

The three scholars shared their research around data-based instruction. McMaster presented her work “Using Data-Based Instruction (DBI) to Support Students’ Early Writing Development.”  Shin shared his meta-analysis on “Relations between CRM (Oral Reading and Maze) and Reading Comprehension on State Achievement Tests.” Finally, Jung discussed the results of her meta-analysis on the “Effects of Data-Based Instruction for Students with Intensive Learning Needs.”

The ICER is an international conference, organized by Education Research Institute at Seoul National University, held annually for the purpose of disseminating and supporting research in education as well as of building academic networks within the Asia-Pacific region. ICER has become a special venue for international academics to share educational research outcomes and to discuss core educational issues in the region. Since the year of 2000, more than 4,000 people from more than twenty countries have attended the event.

Ormasa Receives Alumni Service Award

On Oct. 19, Jan Ormasa was recognized with a University of Minnesota Alumni Service Award. Jan has a master’s degree in educational psychology and a Specialist Certificate in educational administration, and worked as a special education teacher and administrator for the Hopkins Public Schools for over 40 years.

Jan’s passion for education and advocacy is apparent in her daily life as well as in her past leadership of the College of Education and Human Development Alumni Society Board and the CEHD Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle. For both organizations, she implemented strategic planning and inspired members to do more to meet annual goals. In addition, she is a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and PACER Center boards.

The UM Alumni Service Award recognizes a volunteer who has had a major impact on the University, its schools, colleges, departments, or faculty.

Congratulations, Jan!

Dean Quam celebrates with Jan Ormasa

Cook, colleagues receive $2.8 million in grants to support teachers

Clayton Cook head shot
Clayton Cook

Clayton Cook, John W. and Nancy E. Peyton Faculty Fellow in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing and associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program, and his colleagues from the University of Washington have recently been awarded two grants by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

The first, led by Cook, is a three-year, $1.4 million project entitled Development and Evaluation of the Beliefs and Attitudes for Successful Implementation in Schools for Teachers (BASIS-T). The goal of BASIS-T is to revise and refine a feasible and effective implementation enhancement intervention that helps motivate elementary school teachers to adopt and deliver evidence-based classroom practices (EBPs) with fidelity to better meet the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students.

The second, Cook is a co-project investigator on with a colleague from the University of Washington. The four-year, $1.4 million project, Development of RELATE (Relationships to Enhance Learners’ Adjustment to Transitions and Engagement), focuses on developing and testing an intervention that builds off Cook’s research on the Establish-Maintain-Restore approach to promote teacher-student relationships. Specifically, RELATE will be developed and pilot tested as a dropout prevention strategy for 9th grade students as they transition into high school—a critical transitional period that is associated with the greatest amount of students dropping out of school.

Congratulations to Dr. Cook and his colleagues on the recognition and support of this important work!

Kendeou gives plenary at SciX on science of debunking misconceptions

Panayiota Kendeou, Guy Bond Chair in Reading and associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, recently gave a plenary talk at the SciX Conference in Reno, Nevada. Kendeou’s presentation, “The Science of Debunking Misconceptions,” was featured during a session on “The New Vision of Analytical Science by the World.” Kendeou addressed the pervasive problem of misconceptions, misinformation, and fake news in the media and discussed potential approaches to reduce their impact.

SciX is the official conference of the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies (FACSS) founded as a federation of member organizations for the exchange of ideas at the forefront of “to disseminate technical information dealing with the applied, pure, or natural sciences.”

 

Welcome to Ed Psych, Michelle Marchant-Wood!

Michelle Marchant Wood

We’re excited to welcome Michelle Marchant-Wood, Utah native and former associate professor in the special education program at Brigham Young University to Ed Psych! After moving to Minnesota, she began working as a research associate at the University of Minnesota for Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI). Michelle managed an evaluation project with the Anoka Hennepin school district which was under the direction of Dr. Kimberly Gibbons.

When the opportunity afforded itself to teach special education again, she couldn’t pass it up.

“I always love interacting with college students. I love their excitement for being teachers. They’re eager to try new things.” Marchant-Wood says.

Currently, she teaches three educational psychology courses that keep her on her toes, (EPSY 5619: Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities in Math, EPSY 5611: Research-Based Practices in Academic and Behavior Disabilities, and EPSY 5616: Behavior Analysis and Classroom Management).

“I’ve been impressed with the quality of students here. I taught at a private institution that is very difficult to get into (BYU has less than a 50% acceptance rate). I was interested in knowing what it was going to be like teaching at a state institution, but the quality of students here has been most impressive.”

She continues, “I also have really enjoyed getting to know the faculty here. They’re quality people and I have a lot to learn from them.”

Marchant-Wood wants prospective students to realize the great need and ample opportunities available in the field of special education Students are able to get jobs and make a difference.

“The faculty here are known throughout the country for the exceptional research they conduct, which takes a lot of time and effort. Prospective students need to know they’re going to have amazing opportunities here in Minnesota at this program.”

Outside of work, Marchant-Wood explores the cultural opportunities in the Twin Cities. She and her husband frequent orchestra hall and enjoy shows at the Guthrie. She also likes to stay active, by biking, running, and going to the lakes.