BCC-SBE/EHR: Developing Community & Capacity to Measure Noncognitive Factors in Digital Learning Environments

PIs: Andrew Krumm, Britte Cheng
SRI International
Award Details

Researchers from SRI International are building a collaborative research community to support the measurement of noncognitive factors associated with learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics using data from digital learning environments. Constructs such as engagement, grit, tenacity and perseverance are examined as they are strong predictors of academic outcomes. The project uses an evidence-centered design to provide a structured approach for assessing these hard to measure constructs. Products from the research include a detailed framework and shared worked examples that can be used to build common measurement approaches. In addition, the project builds the capacity for a community of software developers, learning science researchers and measurement specialists to work together to expand what is known about how to integrate cognitive and noncognitive outcomes in digital learning environments.

The focus of this work is the use of a framework for assessment called evidence-centered design (ECD). ECD is well suited to supporting the development of rigorous measures of noncognitive assessments as it supports researchers in identifying where and how such constructs are manifested in digital learning environments. The researchers from SRI leverage the infrastructure for learning resource analytics (the Learning Registry) that they have developed to create a content-distribution and replication network to support the work of the community that they are building in this project. White papers from the workshops articulate the research agenda that the digitial learning environment research community is developing. Two workshops support the efforts to develop the worked examples of the measurement of noncognitive outcomes and five knowledge community building sessions, as preconference workshops and symposia, provide a dissemination mechanism to support bringing additional researchers into this community.

This project builds strongly on the previous work that has been conducted by SRI and by the researchers they intend to include in the community for which they are building capacity. The digital learning environments that are the focus of the worked examples of the connection of noncognitive and cognitive factors represent a strong set of the projects that have been funded by NSF. They are the learning environments that are most prevalent in the research and development environment in the STEM digital learning environment and include other digital environments, such as the Khan Academy, that are widely used in education. With the growing interest in college and career ready standards and the emphasis on workforce development skills that emphasize soft skills, the project brings together a community of researchers around a common, important problem.

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