Based on her work in learning sciences, research assistant professor Rosemary Russ was recently chosen to be a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. She is one of only 20 scholars of education nationwide selected for this prestigious honor.
The fellowship is administered by the National Academy of Education, an honorary society that advances the highest quality of education research and its application to policy development. Fellowships, which carry awards of $55,000, are funded by a grant to the Academy from the Spencer Foundation, a private foundation that supports research to improve education.
"We believe the fellowships enhance the future of education research by developing new talent in the many disciplines and fields represented by the scholars we have selected," says Annemarie Palincsar, chair of the selection committee for the National Academy of Education.
Russ received this important award to support her work in the SESP Learning Sciences program specifically related to interviewing students about their science knowledge. Titled "Examining Discourse Interactions in Clinical Interviews about Students' Intuitive Science Knowledge," her project designs and collects interviews with high school physics students to examine the relationship between shifts in students' thinking and interview interactions.
According to Russ, within the learning sciences field education researchers rely heavily on one-on-one clinical interviews to understand students' science knowledge as they work toward reforming curricula and teaching practices. Truly understanding that data requires understanding the interactions in such interviews and how they influence what students say about their science knowledge.
Russ's work has long-term importance for education researchers. "The results of this study will allow education researchers to use clinical interviewing methodology more responsibly by providing guidelines for designing and conducting interviews that tap into the full breadth of student thinking without ‘biasing' that thinking," she says.