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Paper: Social Science at the Center for Adaptive Optics: Synergistic Systems of Program Evaluation, Applied Research, Educational Assessment, and Pedagogy
Volume: 436, Learning from Inquiry In Practice
Page: 562
Authors: Goza, B. K.; Hunter, L.; Shaw, J. M.; Metevier, A. J.; Raschke, L.; Espinoza, E.; Geaney, E. R.; Reyes, G.; Rothman, D. L.
Abstract: This paper describes the interaction of four elements of social science as they have evolved in concert with the Center for Adaptive Optics Professional Development Program (CfAO PDP). We hope these examples persuade early-career scientists and engineers to include social science activities as they develop grant proposals and carry out their research. To frame our discussion we use a metaphor from astronomy. At the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), the CfAO PDP and the Educational Partnership Center (EPC) are two young stars in the process of forming a solar system. Together, they are surrounded by a disk of gas and dust made up of program evaluation, applied research, educational assessment, and pedagogy. An idea from the 2001 PDP intensive workshops program evaluation developed into the Assessing Scientific Inquiry and Leadership Skills (AScILS) applied research project. In iterative cycles, AScILS researchers participated in subsequent PDP intensive workshops, teaching social science while piloting AScILS measurement strategies. Subsequent “orbits” of the PDP program evaluation gathered ideas from the applied research and pedagogy. The denser regions of this disk of social science are in the process of forming new protoplanets as tools for research and teaching are developed. These tools include problem-solving exercises or simulations of adaptive optics explanations and scientific reasoning; rubrics to evaluate the scientific reasoning simulation responses, knowledge regarding inclusive science education, and student explanations of science/engineering inquiry investigations; and a scientific reasoning curriculum. Another applied research project is forming with the design of a study regarding how to assess engineering explanations. To illustrate the mutual shaping of the cross-disciplinary, intergenerational group of educational researchers and their projects, the paper ends with a description of the professional trajectories of some of the researchers involved in this complex solar system.
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