Tag Archive for Stemler

Wesleyan in the News

NewsWesleyan in the News

1. Washington Post: “Biden Makes End Run Around Trump as the President Dominates the National Stage”

Erika Franklin Fowler, associate professor of government and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, comments on Biden’s unusual strategy during an unprecedented time for the 2020 presidential campaign. “There is not a ready off-the-shelf playbook for how you campaign in this environment if you are a nonincumbent, so that’s part of what you’re seeing,” she said. “We’re all being thrown into this new environment, where campaigns are going to need to reinvent, to some extent, how they go about things, how they going to go about reaching citizens.” Fowler added, “I think we’re at a stage of this event where people are starting to feel coronavirus fatigue. So it seems like to me that the local television news strategy and reaching around is probably a good one at this point.”

Wesleyan Establishes College of Education Studies

Students at Wesleyan have long been interested in studying educational practice and policy, and have been committed to working with local schools and children through a wide variety of programs. Here, Emma Distler '19 plays an interactive reading and counting game with a four-year-old through Kindergarten Kickstart, a research-based, high-impact, low-cost innovative and nurturing preschool program organized by Anna Shusterman and her students every summer.

Students at Wesleyan have long been interested in studying educational practice and policy, and have been committed to working with local schools and children through a wide variety of programs. Here, Emma Distler ’19 plays an interactive reading and counting game with a 4-year-old through Kindergarten Kickstart, a research-based, high-impact, low-cost innovative and nurturing preschool program organized by Anna Shusterman and her students every summer.

Wesleyan has announced the establishment of a College of Education Studies, along with a new linked major in Education Studies.

Rooted in a liberal arts framework, the new College will foster interdisciplinary scholarship of education studies that is connected to practice and policy. It is an opportunity for Wesleyan to integrate serious scholarship with the University’s social justice mission, according to Associate Professors of Psychology Anna Shusterman and Steve Stemler, the co-chairs of the newly formed College.

A proposal to establish the College was unanimously endorsed by the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) earlier this year, and was approved by a vote of the full faculty on April 14.

Stemler: Schools’ Mission Statements Can Guide Educators, Homeschooling Parents Amid Social Distancing

Steve Stemler

Steve Stemler

Steve Stemler, associate professor of psychology and co-coordinator of education studies, has spent two decades systematically studying the purposes of school. He is the co-author, together with Dr. Damian Bebell, of The School Mission Statement and maintains the web resource purposeofschool.com. He is the author of an op-ed recently published in The Hartford Courant that provides advice for parents who are now educating their children at home due to coronavirus-related school closures.

You’ve done a good deal of research on the purpose of school, a topic on the minds of many parents these days as they’re getting an up-close look at their children’s daily school experiences. Can you tell us how you went about studying the purpose of school? 

One of the main techniques I use to study school purpose involves systematically analyzing and coding the content of school mission statements. School mission statements have a couple of advantages. First, they are the one common denominator that all schools share. In order to be accredited, schools are required to have a mission statement, so that provides a very nice common element. In addition, they are typically short statements that are meant as public documents that communicate the fundamental values of the school. I have also conducted survey, focus group, and interview research on the dimensions of schooling that people find important.

Stemler Participates in CTNext’s Entrepreneurship Retreat

Steve Stemler, associate professor of psychology, participated in the High Value Talents and Innovators’ Entrepreneurship Retreat Oct. 26-27 on campus. The new industry-academic initiative, supported by the CTNext Higher Education Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund works to increase entrepreneurial education and output among the state’s top researchers.

Steve Stemler, associate professor of psychology, participated in the High Value Talents and Innovators’ Entrepreneurship Retreat Oct. 26-27 on campus. The new industry-academic initiative, supported by the CTNext Higher Education Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund works to increase entrepreneurial education and output among the state’s top researchers. The event was sponsored by Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Stemler joined faculty and researchers from the University of Connecticut, Unilever, Quinnipiac University, and The Jackson Laboratory at the retreat.

Stemler joined faculty and researchers from the University of Connecticut, Unilever, Quinnipiac University, and The Jackson Laboratory at the retreat. Stemler attended the retreat to learn how his research on testing could have potential real-world applications. He also had many students come up with projects in his Psychological Measurement course that could result in important commercial ventures.

Activities included a combination of instructor talks, attendee presentations, active interactions between participants, and a customer discovery, where participants explored potential product-market fit and a wider business model. Faculty received targeted training modules to help attract and retain high-value researchers and were encouraged to engage in Connecticut’s growing innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Activities included a combination of instructor talks, attendee presentations, active interactions between participants, and a customer discovery, where participants explored potential product-market fit and a wider business model. Faculty received targeted training modules to help attract and retain high-value researchers and were encouraged to engage in Connecticut’s growing innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. The goal of the initiative is to increase the number of successful ventures coming out of universities in the state; launch new products and/or business lines with corporate partners; attract investment and partnership deals for these startups and products; and improve the entrepreneurial ecosystems at these institutions to better attract and retain researchers.

The goal of the initiative is to increase the number of successful ventures coming out of universities in the state; launch new products and/or business lines with corporate partners; attract investment and partnership deals for these startups and products; and improve the entrepreneurial ecosystems at these institutions to better attract and retain researchers.

“One thing I took away from the retreat is that as researchers we often get very excited about our own technological/research innovations and assume that people will immediately understand how it fills a need they have,” Stemler said. “I learned that in business ventures, you have to start by really understanding the needs of the people you think will be your potential customers. To do that, it is critically important to interview and really listen to a whole lot of people whom you think will be most interested in your innovation. What I found is that when we engage in that process, we often find that people we thought would find our innovation appealing actually have very different needs. But we can also walk away with more refined ideas for how to apply our innovation, practically communicate about it in a way that resonates with their needs, and which segments of the market will find our innovations useful and which will not.” (Photos by Preksha Sreewastav ’21)

For more information visit the CTNext Higher Education Initiative website.

Stemler’s Study Reveals that Knowing What Not to Do Is a Critical Job Skill

Steven Stemler

Steven Stemler

Situational judgment tests (SJTs) have become an increasingly important tool for predicting employee performance.

In a recent study, Steven Stemler, associate professor of psychology, and two executives at pre-hire assessment firm Aspiring Minds asked current employees at several firms in India to review scenarios and then pick the “best” and “worst” choices from a set of options.

The colleagues found a statistically significant correlation between job success and those who correctly identified the ‘worst’ answers to scenarios.

Their results were surprising.

“What we found in our research is that the ability to correctly identify the ‘worst’ response to a situation is a systematically different skill than the ability to identify the ‘best’ response, and the two may not even be related,” Stemler said.

As a result, Stemler, Varun Aggarwal and Siddharth Nithyan produced a paper titled “Knowing What Not to Do Is a Critical Job Skill: Evidence from 10 Different Scoring Methods,” which was published in the September 2016 International Journal of Selection and Assessment.

Stemler Presents Findings on Creativity, Citizenship in HOT Schools

Steve Stemler

Steve Stemler

On July 1, Associate Professor of Psychology Steven Stemler presented the results of a two-year study measuring creativity and citizenship in Connecticut’s Higher Order Thinking (HOT) schools to an audience of faculty, staff and students in Judd Hall.

The HOT schools are a collaborative of about 14 public schools in Connecticut that voluntarily commit to a philosophy of education, which emphasizes “teaching and learning in, about, and through the arts in a democratic setting,” according to the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of Culture and Tourism’s website. About two years ago, the HOTs leadership team approached Wesleyan’s Quantitative Analysis Center about conducting a study to assess the effectiveness of their program. Emmanuel Kaparakis, director of the Centers for Advanced Computing, asked Stemler to lead the study, which was a good fit with research he’d been working on in his lab to develop assessments of creativity and citizenship. They received a two-year, $60,000 grant from the state for the study.

In order to assess the program’s effectiveness, the study sought to go beyond measures of critical thinking, which an be assessed with standardized tests, by measuring creativity and citizenship — important student outcomes, according to the schools’ mission statements.

Stemler Published in Journal of Study Abroad, Educational Psychology

Steve Stemler, associate professor of psychology, is the co-author of “Development and Validation of the Wesleyan Intercultural Competence Scale (WICS): A Tool for Measuring the Impact of Study Abroad Experiences,” published in Frontiers: the Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, XXIV, 25-47, 2014.

He’s also the co-author of “Testing the theory of successful intelligence through educational interventions in Grade 4 language arts, mathematics and science,” published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, 106(3), 881-899, 2014.

Stemler’s New Study Finds Educational Interventions Cannot Be “Scaled Up”

Steven Stemler, associate professor of psychology, collaborated with researchers at a number of other universities on a major new study, which found that context matters when implementing educational interventions.

Steven Stemler, associate professor of psychology, collaborated with researchers at a number of other universities on a major new study, which found that context matters when implementing educational interventions.

It turns out that teaching language arts, math and science to fourth graders is not the same as manufacturing cars on an assembly line. That is, the microeconomics principle of economies of scale—or the cost advantages that businesses get by increasing the scale of production—do not always apply to educational interventions.

Put another way, an intervention that works great in one specific educational setting cannot necessarily be “scaled up” to work in many other settings.

This is the finding of a major new study funded by the National Science Foundation, on which Associate Professor of Psychology Steven Stemler collaborated with colleagues at a number of other universities including Yale, Cornell and the University of Sydney. The study, carried out in 223 classrooms across the country in the early- to mid-2000s, was published in the American Psychology Association’s Journal of Educational Psychology in August. The paper is titled “Testing the Theory of Successful Intelligence in Teaching Grade 4 Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science.”

Tenure Awarded to Huge, Juhasz, Stemler, Weiss, Wu

The Wesleyan Board of Trustees reviews tenure cases three times each year during its meetings on campus, scheduled as the cases arise. At the most recent meeting in March, the Board awarded tenure — effective July 1, 2013 — to these faculty members:

Elijah Huge, associate professor of art, has taught at Wesleyan since 2006.  A licensed architect, his work includes private commissions and award-winning competition entries for the High Line (New York, N.Y.), the Bourne Bridge|Park (Bourne, Mass.), and the Tangshan Earthquake Memorial (Tangshan, China).  His writing and design work have been featured in PraxisThresholdsPerspectaArchitectural RecordLandscape ArchitectureDwellJournal of Architectural Education, and Competitions.  His current scholarly research examines the historical emergence of architectural emergency devices, from the automatic sprinkler to the Vonduprin panic bar. He founded the atelier North Studio as part of the architecture curriculum within the Department of Art and Art History. Through it, students work in collaboration with each other and Huge to develop and produce research-driven and conceptually-driven projects with real-world clients. The work of the studio has been published widely and received awards from the American Institute of Architects, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. His B.A. and M.Arch. are from Yale University, where he received the AIA Henry Adams Medal and was editor of Perspecta 35: Building Codes.

Barbara Juhasz, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, came to Wesleyan in 2006. She studies the cognitive processes involved in word recognition during reading. In particular, she is interested in the interpretation of the visual input of written language. She is author or co-author of more than 35 articles and book chapters, eight of which include Wesleyan students as co-authors, as well as more than 40 conference presentations. She holds a B.A. from Binghamton University; her M.S. and Ph.D. are from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Steven Stemler, associate professor of psychology, came to Wesleyan in 2005.

Stemler’s Book Offers Review of American Schools’ Mission Statements

Book co-authored by Steven Stemler.

Steven Stemler, assistant professor of psychology, is the co-author of a new book, The School Mission Statement: Values, Goals & Identities in American Education,” published by Eye on Education in March.

Co-authored with Damian J. Bebell of Boston College, the book contains an extensive review of mission statements from a diverse range of schools, including public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, vocational schools, parochial schools and Native American schools. Stemler and Bebell developed a coding rubric to classify the mission statements according to eleven broad themes (eg. Foster cognitive development; foster social development; foster emotional development; integrate into global community).

Based on their review of mission statements, Stemler and Bebell conclude that the purpose of American schools extends well beyond the cognitive domain. However, testing is limited almost exclusively to the cognitive, meaning schools are not being held accountable in the same way for these other, equally important, goals. If schools truly value developing these other competencies in students, then they should do so in a measurable way, they argue.

Stemler Authors Article on University Admission Test Prediction

An article by Steven Stemler, assistant professor of psychology, is published in Vol. 47, Issue 1 of Educational Psychologist.

What Should University Admissions Tests Predict?In the article, “What Should University Admissions Tests Predict?” Stemler argues that because colleges and universities emphasize the development of a broad range of capabilities in their students—beyond just mastery of specific academic content—admissions tests should also capture a range of essential student qualities. The article includes a review of these common capabilities, such as cultural competence and ethical reasoning, which colleges and universities purport to seek and develop in their students. It then presents a conceptual model outlining what outcomes admissions tests ought to predict, and considers whether testing should be based on an applicant’s aptitude, ability or achievement in these essential skill areas.

 

Federal Standards, High School Missions Often at Odds

Steven Stemler, assistant professor of psychology, has published a new study showing key differences between federal educational initiative goals and high school mission statements.

Americans have been bombarded over the past three decades with the news that our K-12 students are academically falling behind their peers dozens of countries. The U.S. government has responded by implementing a series of standardized tests and creating such programs as “Race to the Top” and “No Child Left Behind” to measure and improve our children’s success. The outcomes of these initiatives are often used to determine teacher effectiveness, as well.

“These programs are based on an assumption that has rarely been questioned by researchers and policy makers–the assumption that there is a consensus about the fundamental purpose of schooling in American society,” says Steven Stemler, assistant professor of psychology.

“But how can you presume common standards for ‘success’ when we are all pretty sure the definitions of success for urban schools, suburban schools and rural schools don’t even match up in the same state, never mind nationwide?”

However, “pretty sure” is the operative phrase here. Though virtually everyone who studies educational performance will readily agree that schools vary in the way they approach “success” and “excellence” no one could really identify definitively