Barbera Lab Projects

Current projects involve the development and application of assessment measures to better understand the teaching and learning of chemistry.

Visit our collaborators and funding page to learn more about who we are currently working with.


THE IMPACTS OF A FLIPPED CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT ON STUDENTS' ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION

In collaboration with Michael Phillips at University of Northern Colorado

A multi-institutional study of the flipped learning environment in chemistry. Investigates how this type of learning environment impacts many different facets of student motivation for a variety of student groups. This study is intended to broaden the evidence-base of understanding for this environment and how to best employ it to support positive student outcomes.


MEASURING MINDSET IN CHEMISTRY

In collaboration with Suazette Mooring at Georgia State University

This project builds on Carol Dweck’s seminal work on mindset to produce chemistry-specific measures of students’ implicit beliefs about intelligence. Our process is informed by student interviews and pilot studies in order to develop measures that target what students enrolled in chemistry courses believe it means to be successful within the discipline.


ORDERED MULTIPLE-CHOICE (OMC) ASSESSMENT DEVELOPMENT

In collaboration with Alena Moon at University of Nebraska – Lincoln and Nicole Becker at Iowa State University

Grounded in a developmental perspective, which treats students’ knowledge as developing in sophistication over time, assessments are being designed and tested to gauge students understanding of scientific models (with N. Becker) and light-matter interactions (with A. Moon). Each OMC assessment follows the Cornerstone Model of assessment development and is informed by qualitative studies and evaluated using Rasch analysis.


THE CHIRAL PROJECT

In collaboration with Regis Komperda at San Diego State University and Jordan Harshman at Auburn University

The CHemistry Instrument Review and Assessment Library (CHIRAL) project is an NSF-funded initiative to develop and build a centralized assessment instrument resource. This project is cataloguing the assessment instruments being used within the chemistry education community and providing insights and reviews of the evidence that supports the validity and reliability of the data they generate.


MEASURING STUDENTS’ ENGAGEMENT IN SMALL-GROUP ACTIVE LEARING

Nicole Naibert – PSU Graduate Project

Active learning is only effective if students utilize the learning materials, therefore, this project is investigating the degree to which students engage in POGIL-like activities conducted in large-enrollment courses. Assessment measures are being designed and investigated to probe students behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and social engagement during these activities.

 


EVALUATING COGNITIVE ENGAGEMENT THROUGH DISCOURSE ANALYSIS

Safaa El-Mansy – PSU Graduate Project, in collaboration with Alissa Hartig (PSU – Applied Linguistics)

Interactive peer discussions have been shown to increase the outcomes of active learning and can be influenced by both the structure of a learning activity and how it is facilitated. This project uses observations of student interactions and discourse analysis to understand these influences and how best to support high levels of cognitive engagement during POGIL-like learning activities.


ASSESSING STUDENTS’ EXPECTATIONS AND BEHAVIORAL ENGAGEMENT IN LABORATORY LEARNING

Elizabeth Vaughan – PSU Graduate Project

Laboratory courses provide a range of opportunities for students to expand their knowledge of chemistry. However, many students endeavor to simply finish as early as possible. This project seeks to understand how students’ expectations for laboratory courses inform their goals and behaviors within these courses. Outcomes from this project will also inform how best to align laboratory expectations between students, teaching assistants, and course developers.


EVALUATING HIGHER-ORDER COGNITIVE SKILLS IN CHEMISTRY

Emryse Geye – PSU Graduate Project

This project builds off of the Blooming Biology Tool to develop a chemistry-specific scoring rubric for content assessments. This rubric will help educators and education researchers reliably catalogue the range of items on an assessment based on a multi-dimensional framework grounded in Bloom’s revised taxonomy.