Research in the Barbera group revolves around how educators and researchers measure student outcomes in chemistry.
We study student outcomes with regard to both the acquisition of chemistry content knowledge as well as through changes in many of the affective components important for learning (e.g., motivation, self-efficacy, interest). Our interest in measuring these components is to improve what the chemistry education community knows about how students learn. In the classroom, our research tools and results help to provide robust evidence of the impacts of various educational practices. In the chemistry education research community, our studies provide new or modified assessment instruments that are informed by best practices in educational measurement.
Our group utilizes qualitative and quantitative research methodologies throughout our studies. This combination of depth of understanding, provided by small-scale qualitative studies and large-scale quantitative analysis, provides the broadest range of evidence to support our findings. Our quantitative methodologies range from general descriptive (e.g., mean, mode, normality) and comparative (e.g., t-test, ANOVA, chi-squared) statistics to more elaborate methods (e.g., Rasch, IRT, CFA, SEM).