Tag Archive for Stemler

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

Stemler: ‘Tacit Knowledge’ May be Powerful New Way to Identify Effective Teachers

Steve Stemler, assistant professor of psychology, says that acquiring Practical Intelligence is vital for new teachers because roughly 50 percent of new teachers are out of the profession within their first five years of entering it.

Sure, first-year teachers need to be masters of their subject material and their classrooms, but to be truly effective in that first year and beyond teachers also have learn one vital skill: avoiding “bad” decisions.

“Novice teachers, in particular, don’t necessarily need to make good decisions right away, but what they must develop is the tacit knowledge to identify what a bad decision or bad response may be. That may sound easy in theory, but when you consider all of the challenges  that come from outside the classroom such as administrative duties, dealing with colleagues and dealing with parents, it becomes much more difficult,” says Steven Stemler, assistant professor of psychology.

Stemler is the co-author of a new study titled “The socially skilled teacher and the development of tacit knowledge,” which has been published by the British Educational Research Journal. The study spent a year looking the levels of effectiveness experienced by more than 500 teachers in England. The researchers found that the most successful teachers were those who developed the “tacit knowledge”

Students Present Psychology, Neuroscience Research

The Department of Psychology hosted its Research Poster Presentation April 29 in Zelnick Pavilion. Pictured is Ankit Kansal ’10 who presented his research titled “Schizophrenic Patient Decision Making.” His advisors are Andrea Patalano, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, and Matthew Kurtz, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior.

Stemler Author of Tacit Knowledge Article

Steve Stemler, assistant professor of psychology, is the co-author of “The socially skilled teacher and the development of tacit knowledge,” published in the British Educational Research Journal, Feb. 24, 2010

Stemler Develops Adaptability Study for U.S. Military

Steve Stemler

Steven Stemler, assistant professor of psychology.

Failure to adapt in certain military maneuvers or assignments can lead to fatal errors. To help prevent grievous mistakes, the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense has asked psychologists to study adaptability. Assistant Professor of Psychology Steven Stemler was awarded a $60,000 subcontract via the University of Central Florida to study the concept and develop tools to measure adaptability.