Diane Litman, Computer Science, was named “One of 39 Women Doing Amazing Research in Computational Social Sciences,” by SAGE publishing.
Peg (Margaret) Smith, Education, was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics.
Ming-Te Wang, Psychology and Education, has received the 2019 American Psychological Association (APA) Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions to Psychology. This award recognizes psychologists who are at early stages of their research careers (in the first ten years post-PhD). It is one of the most prestigious and influential awards for early career scholar’s scientific achievement
Kevin Ashley, Professor, Law and Intelligent Systems in the School of Law, and LRDC Senior Scientist received a grant from the Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security 2018 Pitt Cyber Accelerator Grants Program. Winners receive funding for research projects that examine the swiftly changing technological landscape and the rules, practices and safeguards designed to keep it secure.
Ming-Te Wang is featured in January 8 Kidsburgh article about the school-to-prison pipeline report by the CRSP. Read the report here.
Julie Fiez is quoted in the January 18 Scientific American article, "The Cerebellum Is Your 'Little Brain'—and It Does Some Pretty Big Things." Article here.
Female students with A's have similar physics self-efficacy as male students with C's in introductory courses: A cause for alarm?
Despite calls for more female participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers over the past decade, participation by women in these fields has changed less than 1%. How can this be? Women now earn approximately 20% of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in physics and engineering. Although the reasons for the low percentage of women in STEM fields are not fully understood, it is clear that motivational factors play an important role.
Motivation has several facets, one being the belief in one’s capability to be successful in a particular task, subject area, or course — also known as “self-efficacy.” Self-efficacy can affect performance, career goals, and persistence. Prior studies have shown that female students have lower self-efficacy than male students in various STEM domains and that this factor contributes to the low representation of females students in STEM. However, until now, research has not examined self-efficacy differences from performance difference.
Recent research by a team of scholars at the University of Pittsburgh and the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), explored the self-efficacy of male and female students with similar performance in introductory physics courses. They also examined whether gender gaps in self-efficacy were persistent across different instructors and difference course formats.
Students filled out a self-efficacy in physics survey before physics 1, before physics 2, and at the end of physics 2. Students’ achievement was measured by their performance on physics tests and course grades. The physics courses were taught by several instructors and varied in the type of pedagogy used, with some using a “flipped” format and others using a traditional, lecture-based format.
The researchers found that female students had lower self-efficacy than male students at all performance levels in both physics 1 and physics 2, and this result was persistent across various instructors and course formats. Female students' low self-efficacy in their abilities to succeed can result in low performance, further decreasing their interest in physics. The findings by the Pitt and CCAC team may contribute to the low representation of female students in STEM.
Although the experience of female students in physics courses may seem discouraging, modifications can be made to improve the situation. Knowledge of the conditions in which instructional, cognitive-skill, and social/motivational interventions are most effective, and on whom, can inform the way in which faculty members implement effective interventions in the classroom. Instructors, researchers, and curriculum developers can use this knowledge to specifically target female students’ self-efficacy. Recognizing the importance of students’ motivational characteristics and developing ways to address this may ultimately make physics and other STEM fields more attractive to women and increase diversity in these fields.
Kucan, L., Rainey, E., & Cho, B-Y. (2018). Engaging middle school students in disciplinary literacy through culturally relevant historical inquiry. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 1-13. doi: 10.1002/jaal.940. Article here. (1/7)
Coutanche, M. N., Solomon, S. H., & Thompson-Schill, S. (2019). Conceptual combination. In The Cognitive Neurosciences, 6th edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. (2/18)
Fraundorf, S. H., Hourihan, K. L., Peters, R. A., & Benjamin, A. S. (2019). Aging and recognition memory: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/bul0000185. (1/22)
Zepeda, C. D., Hlutkowsky, C. O., Partika, A. C., & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2018). Identifying teachers’ supports of metacognition through classroom talk and its relation to growth in conceptual learning. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/edu0000300. (1/14)
Elizondo-Garcia, J., Schunn, C. & Gallardo, K. (2019). Quality of peer feedback in relation to instructional design: A comparative study in energy and sustainability MOOCs. International Journal of Instruction, 12(1), 1025-1040. Article here. (1/14)