Analyzing STEM Thinking and Learning

October 24, 2011

David Williamson Shaffer and colleagues are using a new method of STEM assessment called epistemic network analysis. This assessment does not focus on whether students master specific scientific facts, math skills, or engineering concepts. Rather, it measures whether and how students link the skills, knowledge, identity, values, and epistemology of a STEM-related profession into a coherent way of thinking about complex STEM problems. Central to this work is the problem of quantifying the relative positions of different networks of skills, knowledge, identity, and values in a common network space. The goal is to use inferential statistics to detect meaningful groups of learners, or the trajectories novices follow in becoming experts.