/ LRDC Newsletter Volume 11, Issue 2, 2020
In the News
LRDC Research Scientist Lindsay Page, Associate Professor, School of Education, was quoted in The Washington Post, The Hechinger Report, and the Washington Post online (May 29, 2020) on the COVID-19 pandemic and its affect on college students' careers.
The research of new faculty member and LRDC Research Scientist, Diana Leyva, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, was the topic of the Positive Parenting article here (May 17, 2020).
The Institute for Learning (IFL) presented its annual Leaders' Forum online. Read about the Leaders Forum keynote "What Have We Learned from Online Learning That Can Help Us Reimagine "Education?" by School of Education Professor, and LRDC Center Associate, Amanda Godley(June 11, 2020) University Times.
Robert Hausmann, PhD, 2005 (Cognitive Psychology), PostDoctoral Fellow (2005-2009) and currently Cognitive Scientist at Carnegie Learning, Inc., (Pittsburgh) has published Cognitive Science for Educators: Practical Suggestions for an Evidence-based Classroom. (2020). John Catt Educational Ltd. Details on how to order the book here.
Classroom Intervention Fosters Belonging
"There is a growing awareness amongst researchers and administrators in higher education that cultivating a sense of belonging is critical for students' success. However, many students contend with doubts about belonging, particularly students from underrepresented and minority (URM) backgrounds," explains Kevin Binning, an assistant professor in the Dietrich Schoolâ€™s Department of Psychology and one of the researchers leading the initiative.
"When I began teaching Foundations of Biology, I knew it was regarded as a 'weed-out' course in which students believed that 'not everybody is good enough to make it,'" remembers Erica McGreevy, a lecturer in the school's Department of Biological Sciences. McGreevy and her departmental colleague, senior lecturer Nancy Kaufmann, were concerned to find that many of the students who did poorly in the course were members of URM groups. Kaufmann connected McGreevy with Binning and other researchers within the University's Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) who were developing methods to support URM students.
"From this group, I learned that there's a lot of research to suggest that one of the causes of the achievement gap that we were seeing is that URM students experience a lower sense of belonging in science due to cultural stereotypes about who belongs and who succeeds in science," says McGreevy.
Together, the team designed and implemented the Belonging Initiative, a psychosocial intervention "to mitigate the effects of stereotype threat, imposter syndrome, and other psychological pressures that may contribute to the racial achievement gap in Foundations of Biology," says McGreevy.
The core idea behind the Belonging Initiative, says Binning, is that a studentâ€™s perspective on adversity is malleable. Students with belonging uncertainty may see common hurdlesâ€”for example, an unexpectedly bad gradeâ€”as evidence that they do not belong. "Instead of seeing adversity as unique to them and permanent, we try to train students that experiencing adversity is common, if not universal, and temporary," he explains.
"This intervention uses reflective writing, student testimonials and group discussion to socially validate the idea that anxiety about belonging is normal but will dissipate over time," McGreevy explains. "By presenting challenges as normal and surmountable, students can develop a positive mindset in which they believe that everyone struggles sometimes, but that everyone can also improve through hard work and persistence."
The initial intervention was implemented over four semesters and included 1,200 biology students. The outcomes were encouraging: The intervention raised the performance of minority students, and all students who received the intervention had improved attendance and one-year college persistence rates.
As McGreevy and Binning shared the results of their work around campus, Chandralekha Singh, a professor in the Dietrich School's Department of Physics and Astronomy and director of the Discipline-based Science Education Research Center (dB-SERC), saw potential applications to physics courses. Read the full article here.
Recent Publications (LRDC scientists names in boldface)
Albert, W.D., Hanson, J.L. et al. (2020). Individual differences in executive function partially explain the socioeconomic gradient in middle-school achievement. Developmental Science. Abstract here.
Chen, G., Zhang, J., Chan, CK, Michaels, S., Resnick, L.B., & Huang, X. (2020). The link between student-perceived teacher talk and student enjoyment, anxiety and discursive engagement in the classroom. British Educational Research Journal. Abstract here.
Galey, J.L., Eagle, S.R., Blaney, N.A., Holland, C.L., Bitzer, H.D., Schneider, W., et al. (2020). Effect of patient compliance with treatment recommendations on clinical outcomes in chronic mTBI: A TEAM-TBI study. Military Medicine. Article here.
Guan, C., Q., Fraundorf, S.H., & Perfetti, C.A. (2020). Character and child factors contribute to character recognition development among good and poor Chinese readers from grade 1 to 6. Annals of Dyslexia. Abstract here.
Kalendar, Z.Y., Marshman, E., Schunn, C.D., Nokes-Malach, T.J., & Singh, C. (2020). Damage caused by women's lower self-efficacy on physics learning. Physical Review Physics Education Research. Article here.
Koch, G.E., Paulus, J.P., & Coutanche, M.N. (2020). Neural patterns are more similar across individual during successful memory encoding than during failed memory encoding. Cerebal Cortex. Abstract here.
Rottman, B.M., Wyatt, G., Crane, T.E., & Sikorski, I. (2020). Expwectancy and utilization of reflexology among women with advanced breast cancer. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Abstract here.
Yurekli, B., Stein, M.K., Correnti, R., & Kisa, Z. (2020). Teaching mathematics for conceptual understanding: Teachers' beliefs and practices and the role of constraints. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. Access here.