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Dr. Jack Barbera
Dr. Jack Barbera

Associate Professor of Chemistry Education

Ph.D. Chemistry | University of Colorado - Boulder, 2007


Research Interests

Research in the Barbera group revolves around how educators and researchers measure student learning in chemistry.

We study student learning 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, Path Analysis).

Representative Publications

  • Brent Ferrell and Jack Barbera, “Analysis of Students’ Self-Efficacy, Interest, and Effort Beliefs in General Chemistry,” Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 16, 2015, 318-337.

  • Corina E. Brown, Richard M. Hyslop, and Jack Barbera, “Development and Analysis of an Instrument to Assess Student Understanding of GOB Chemistry Knowledge Relevant to Clinical Nursing Practice,” Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 43, 2015, 13-19.

  • David Wren and Jack Barbera, “Psychometric Analysis of the Thermochemistry Concept Inventory,” Chemistry Education Research and Practice – Special Edition on Physical Chemistry Education, 15, 2014, 380-390.

  • Paul Schwartz and Jack Barbera, “Evaluating the Content and Response Process Validity of Data from the Chemistry Concepts Inventory,” Journal of Chemical Education, 90, 2014, 630-640.

  • David Wren and Jack Barbera, “Gathering Evidence for Validity During the Design, Development and Qualitative Evaluation of Thermochemistry Concept Inventory Items,” Journal of Chemical Education, 90, 2013, 1590-1601.

  • Jack Barbera, “A Psychometric Analysis of the Chemical Concepts Inventory,” Journal of Chemical Education, 90, 2013, 546-553.

  • Thomas Pentecost and Jack Barbera, “Measuring Learning Gains in Chemical Education: A Comparison of Two Methods,” Journal of Chemical Education, 90, 2013, 839-845.

  • Corina E. Brown, Melissa L. M. Henry, Jack Barbera, and Richard M. Hyslop, ”A Bridge Between Two Cultures: Uncovering the Chemistry Concepts Relevant to the Nursing Clinical Practice,” Journal of Chemical Education, 89, 2012, 1114-1121.

  • Jack Barbera and Carl E. Wieman, “Effect of a Dynamic Learning Tutorial on Students’ Understanding of Heat and the First Law of Thermodynamics,” The Chemical Educator, 14, 2009, 45-48.

  • Jack Barbera, Katherine K. Perkins, Wendy K. Adams, and Carl E. Wieman, “The Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey: Modifications and Validation in Chemistry,” Journal of Chemical Education, 85, 2008, 1435-1439.