Effect size

There are a lot of different ways to think about comparing two things, or more appropriately perhaps, two sets of things. If they are things we can count, we can easily see which there are more of. If they are more like a score, we can easily see which set has a higher score. We can also fairly easily see what the distribution of the things in each set are, although comparing the distributions is a bit more tricky.

Using some basic statistics measures, we can tell whether or not the two sets of things are different from each other using significance testing. This is typically done with a t-test or an analysis of variance (ANOVA) or a similar measure. These types of measures, based on the mean and variance of a set of data points, are simple and easy to calculate (especially with a basic stats program) and have therefore become commonplace in the research literature. But unfortunately, their simplicity ends up hiding a lot of information and potentially interesting nuance.
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Becoming a PI

There are three important letters that you add to your name when you finish your Ph.D. But there are two other letters that are also important to researchers as they begin their careers: P.I. The Principal Investigator is the person in charge of a research project and it signifies the next step in your career, where a funding agency has selected your research proposal, using a panel of your peers in most cases, as worthy of gaining a substantial amount of external support. It is basically a sign that other people (you know, people who aren’t trying to help you graduate) think that your work is important and interesting. It’s a really good thing and the first time you become a P.I. is an important career milestone.
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NARST 2014 Presentations

So I have a pretty ambitious schedule at NARST this year. NARST is the annual science education research conference. (It used to stand for something, but doesn’t anymore.) This year, I am involved in not one or two, but six presentations at the conference. And yes, that is a lot. Two of them are ones where I am first author on the paper and am presenting at the conference and the other four I am one of the co-authors (which is associated with a varying amount of responsibility depending on the paper). And these six papers fall into three very different areas, which makes the whole thing even more onerous.
* I am presenting a subset of the final results of the simulation meta-analysis that I’ve been working on for the last year and a half (a subset focused on science, obviously).
* I am presenting some findings relating to a large efficacy study of the PBIS curriculum (my part is focused on analysis of the weekly online implementation logs, but I’ve also been working on analysis of classroom video observations and teacher professional development). This work is largely concerned with teachers’ implementation of the new science Framework and NGSS-related ideas (mostly the integration of scientific practices with content). These papers are part of a related paper set (but there’s also another one that is in its own session).
* I am helping a colleague put together a presentation on analysis of afterschool science materials that we have been working on.
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NARST and AERA 2013

My “spring conference series” just ended. NARST (the conference formerly known as the National Association of Research on Science Teaching) was in early April (in Puerto Rico!) and AERA (American Educational Research Association) was about a week ago (here in San Francisco). Here are my notes and thoughts from the two conferences.

NARST

The big topic of the conference was, of course, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which officially were released at the tail end of the conference. Most people were referring to it during their presentations, even though we didn’t know exactly what it was yet. (Some people were conflating the new Framework with the new NGSS, but that’s a different story.)

There were a few presentations about one of the large studies that I am working on, an efficacy study of a middle school science curriculum. These presentations on some of our preliminary findings went well and I am really looking forward to next year’s conference when we will have even more results to report on and some awesome graphs to show.

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