Kristen McMaster, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program, was recently recognized for her article, “Data-based decision-making: Developing a method for capturing teachers’ understanding of CBM graphs.” The article—led by Christine Espin, professor of learning problems and specialized interventions at Leiden University and co-authored by Stan Deno, professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Psychology until his passing in 2017 and others—received the prestigious Samuel A. Kirk award for best research article published in 2017. Named for one of the United States’ most impactful leaders in the field of special education and learning disabilities, this award is occasionally given to a journal article published in Learning Disabilities Research & Practice that exhibits excellence.
McMaster accepted the Samuel A. Kirk award on behalf of herself and her colleagues at the Council for Exceptional Children’s Annual Conference in Tampa Bay, Florida, February 7-10. In recognition of their efforts, the researchers received a plaque and a small monetary award.
Why do some students continue to struggle with reading, even after years of intensive intervention? A former teacher, Ph.D. student Britta Bresina wants to find out what can be done about it.
We asked Britta some questions about her experience as a student of the special education department, as well are her work and research. Here’s what she said:
What is most exciting about your work and research?
“I honestly believe it will have a positive impact on the lives of many students who struggle to learn. Being a teacher, I was able to both have and directly see the impact I made on the lives of my students. It was very powerful. When I decided to leave my classroom to come back to school full-time, I struggled a bit knowing that I was walking away from that environment. However, like one of my students told me, I have the potential to help even more students by being a researcher and teaching future teachers. That is pretty awesome.”
What have you most enjoyed about your experience in the special education program?
“I have greatly enjoyed how closely I get to work with the faculty we have in our program. They are approachable, a wealth of knowledge, and really want to help graduate students in this program grow. I have also enjoyed the exposure I’ve gotten to the greater field of special education researchers through attending conferences and other opportunities.”
Do you have a productivity secret that helps you get through school?
“Read a lot! The more you read, the more questions you will have that will help you generate research ideas. Also, get some friends together and start a writing group where you analyze scientific writing, set goals, and hold each other accountable. Finally, like all special educators know, you must monitor your progress toward your goals!”
What’s your favorite restaurant near campus/in the Twin Cities?
“I have many. The best place to celebrate the end of a semester is Loring Pasta Bar – awesome atmosphere and unique dishes. The best place to grab lunch or coffee with friends is Purple Onion – so good! The best happy hour is at Kafe 421! All excellent.”
The Center for Education Innovation’s (CEI), Thank a Teacher program allows students to provide unsolicited feedback by sending thank you notes to teachers who make a positive difference in their education and personal development.
The note reads: “Thank you so much for a great semester Sherri. The environment you made in the classroom made it such a nice place to want to come and learn more each session. Sherri Turner, Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology, continues to positively impact students and recently received a “thank a teacher” note for the supportive and encouraging environment she creates in her classroom. -Tara Ostendorf”
Have you had a teacher that has made a difference in your education? Visit CEI’s website to thank them.
The Center for Education Innovation’s (CEI) Thank a Teacher Program allows students to provide unsolicited recognition by sending thank you notes to professors who make a positive difference in their achievement and development.
In 1991, Ernest Davenport, now an associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Educational Psychology, started a free ACT prep program to help underrepresented high school students prepare for the ACT. Supported by grants and volunteers, the program is a partnership with the University of Minnesota chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African American men.
27 years after founding the program, Davenport is stepping down from his leadership role, a transition that was highlighted in a recent article by the Minnesota Daily, Fraternity’s ACT prep program finds its footing. Davenport is confident that the program will continue without him. He told the Daily, “Many participants in the program end up leading it later on which is unique.”
Thank you, Dr. Davenport, for your continued work toward educational equity in our communities!
The Center for Education Innovation’s (CEI), Thank a Teacher program allows students to provide unsolicited feedback by sending thank you notes to teachers who make a positive difference in their education and personal development. Sashank Varma, program coordinator and associate professor in the psychological foundations of education program, recently received one of these “thank a teacher” notes which highlights the inspiration and passion he continuously gives to his students.
The note reads:
“Thank you for making me so excited about educational psychology. You already know, but you are great at giving engaging lectures, and I was so thankful for the format of this class this past fall. It made me want to continue in educational psychology and I can’t wait for what comes in the next classes because of this class. Thank you for making a difference in my education and helping find passions and places I didn’t know they existed. I hope you keep inspiring students and doing what you’re doing. Thank you!
Five proposals from students and researchers in the Reading + Language Lab have been accepted as presentations at American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting, April 13-17 in New York City.
The presentations—focused on knowledge revision and reading comprehension—are listed below:
*Trevors, G., Bohn-Gettler, C., *Mohsen, B., & Kendeou, P. (April, 2018). The effects of inducing emotions on knowledge revision processes. Paper to be presented at a Symposium on Reducing the Impact of Misconceptions to the Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, USA.
*Trevors, G. & Kendeou, P. (April, 2018). Revision failure: Integrating cognitive and motivational theories. Poster to be presented to the Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, USA.
*Mohsen, B., & Kendeou, P. (April, 2018). Argument Evaluation, Reading Strategies, and Opinion Change in the Digital Environment. Paper to be presented at a Symposium on Digital Reading at the American Educational Research Association’s Annual Meeting, New York, NY.
*Butterfuss, R., *Bresina, B., *Wagner, K., Kendeou, P., & McMaster, K. (April, 2018). The relation between executive function and inference making. Poster to be presented at the American Educational Research Association’s Annual Meeting, New York, NY.
*Butterfuss, R., *Kim, J., *Salovich, N., *Trevors, G., & Kendeou, P. (April, 2018). The effects of emotional content on knowledge revision: An eye-tracking study. Poster to be presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY.
*denotes current or past student
About the Reading + Language Lab
The Reading + Language Lab is led by Panayiota (Pani) Kendeou, Guy Bond Chair in Reading and associate professor in the Department of Educational psychology. The lab examines the relationship between language and memory, with an emphasis on understanding and improving learning during reading. The lab also develops and applies technology-based interventions and assessments.
The researchers’ paper received the second most votes from the journal’s board for Article of the Year, earning the Honorable Mention Award which is given to researchers who contribute to the advancement of the science of assessment to inform intervention in schools.
McMaster and her colleagues will receive will their award at the upcoming business meeting of the Council for Educational Diagnostic Services, held during the annual convention of the Council for Exceptional Children in Tampa, Florida, February 7–10.
Hannah Boldt didn’t always know she wanted to be a counselor. Initially, she pursued a degree as a saxophone player. She switched her major to international studies with the intention of working in international aid in West Africa, however upon graduation found a career in the software and I.T. sector where she worked for four years. Now a second-year counseling and student personnel psychology (CSPP) student, Hannah is excited to finally be on her path to becoming a counselor or therapist.
She says it was her own winding road to find her passion that drew her to the field of career counseling and personal therapy.
“I want to normalize the student experience of not knowing what to do, or graduating in something and not using it,” Hannah says.
We sat down with Hannah and asked her a few questions about her experience as a CSPP student and what insights she’d like to share with other prospective students. Here’s what she said:
What surprised you along the way?
“I was surprised at the amount of emotional energy it takes to be a counselor. I knew what I was getting into, but my expectations weren’t prepared for the amount of personal reflection and growth I would be doing. Overall, I’ve experienced a lot of emotional growth.”
What’s something you’ve most enjoyed about your experience?
“I was ready to be back in school and learning, after taking 4 years off in between my undergrad and master’s. I came in with the expectation to be a sponge and take in everything. It’s been so exciting and exhilarating to learn more about the field of psychology and counseling.”
How would you describe the student experience and what does that mean to you?
“In CEHD as a whole, I’ve been impressed with the opportunities for engagement. Every day, there’s a different talk or seminar going on and it feels like there’s a spirit of engagement and learning. Sometimes I think I signed up for a little too much. I’m working three jobs and go to school full time.”
How have your professors helped you along the way?
“All three of my professors in the CSPP program have gone above and beyond their role. It seems like they take a vested interest in my growth as an individual and professional. I work with Dr. Ohrtman doing clinical placements and she is communicative and dedicated to connecting, networking, and helping me professionally. My adviser, Dr. Howard, helped me with the emotional journey transitioning from work and adjusting to a graduate program. She also suggested that my practicum be with Student Counseling Services, which has challenged me to grow outside my comfort zone. Lastly, Dr. Berger has been always accessible and an excellent advocate to better the program.”
What would you like prospective students to know?
“Grad school is tough. Also, it’s incredibly worthwhile. I’ve been challenged to grow as a person and define my values and what I stand for. In the counseling program, I appreciate the advocacy element. It’s not just having these values, but the responsibility to take action. You have to be prepared to do emotional work and self reflection. As a result, you will grow as an individual and come into your own.”
How has your cohort helped you along the way?
“My cohort has been so helpful and important to me. There’s 35 of us, but we have a strong bond because we are all going through the process of discovering ourselves and the profession together. We all came in with different experiences, and it’s helpful to have people to lean on when things get tough and to normalize the experience.”
What are you looking forward to with graduation?
“Having a job that I look forward to going to and getting paid for something I love doing, is what I’m most excited for. I’m ready to use what I’ve learned and put it into practice. It’s great to feel like I’ve arrived at what feels like my ‘calling’ after 27 years of wondering what I was meant to do as a professional.”
This post was originally written by Ciara Metzger.
Ginny Zeyer started her special education career at 16 years old, babysitting a child with autism. Her drive and willingness to learn led her to earn licenses in every disability, develop work and transition programs, alternative education, and administration. Now, she finds herself as a supervisor of the developmental disabilities (DD) program at the University of Minnesota.
Growing up, Ginny thought she wanted to be an elementary teacher.
“The more I worked in special education, the more passionate I got. I saw an opportunity for how much more we could be doing as educators.”
She continues, “There’s so much you can do in special education. You can teach disabilities, build curriculum, develop programs in schools. I’ve written grants to help at-risk students in a work program and had the opportunity to start a new alternative education school.”
In the Department of Educational Psychology, Ginny loves working with younger teachers.
“It’s nice to feel like I have so much impact on them from my background and experiences. I give them ideas, and they give me ideas. I’m constantly learning, and the students here are very appreciative.” Zeyer says.
Ginny’s advice to students: “Take advantage of all the learning that happens in the classroom. It will prepare you to have a successful teaching experience. Also, build relationships with your professors. It will help you progress through all the skills you need, and they know what skills you need.”
Outside of work, Ginny enjoys cooking and trying new recipes (chicken piccata, creme brule, sweet potato gnocchi, etc.). She also enjoys spending time with her 19 year old grandson who lives in the Twin Cities.
This article was originally written by Ciara Metzger.
The Center for Education Innovation’s (CEI), Thank a Teacher program provides an opportunity for students to recognize their teachers that have made a positive impact on their education and development through unsolicited feedback. Dr. Rose Vukovic, director of undergraduate studies and associate professor in the special education program recently received one of these “thank you” notes in an official letter from CEI, showcasing her continued impact on students’ lives.
The note reads:
“Thank you so much for a great semester Rose. The environment you made in the classroom made it such a nice place to want to come and learn more each session. I feel I have gained a lot of knowledge from this class and that is all because of the way you presented the material and made it such a welcoming and connected learning environment.
Turner’s research will lay the groundwork for future studies and help uncover best practices for providing Native Americans with experiences, support, and encouragement to pursue engineering and consider faculty roles.
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Response processes in noncognitive measures: Validity evidence from explanatory item response modeling. [NCME]. (Michael Rodriguez, Okan Bulut, Julio Cabrera, Kory Vue)
Measurement invariance in noncognitive measures: Validity approach using explanatory item response modeling. [NCME]. (José Palma, Okan Bulut, Julio Cabrera, Youngsoon Kang)
Comprehensive partitioning of student achievement variance to inform equitable policy design. [NCME]. (Kyle Nickodem, Michael Rodriguez)
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.
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.
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.