2019 Steele Symposium

Steele Research Symposium

Integrating Equity in Research Design, Analysis, Interpretation and Dissemination

Friday, April 23, 2021

Hosted virtually

11:30 am to 5:15 pm

The Steele Symposium is coordinated by the College of Education and Human Development and includes presentations by undergraduate and graduate students from the School of Education and the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences.

The Symposium is a great opportunity for students to showcase the research they are engaged in as part of their coursework, assistantship, or dissertation. Students may elect to present oral presentations of research or posters, and advanced graduate students may choose to be a discussant.

In recognition of the symposium’s roots in home economics and family and consumer sciences, students from the Fashion and Apparel Studies department and in the majors of Applied Nutrition, Dietetics, Nutritional Sciences and Nutrition are invited to participate, and faculty of these departments are invited to attend.

In addition, guests and community members are enthusiastically welcome to attend and hear the student presentations.

This Symposium is made possible by the generous donation by the Steele Family. Learn more about Marion H. Steele and the establishment of the Marion Steele Research Symposium


Steele Symposium Schedule

April 23, 2021

11:30 – 11:45 am Opening remarks and tribute to J. Rodman Steele, Jr.
11:45 am – 12:50 pm Keynote Speaker: Manuel S. González Canché
The Hidden Costs of Corroboration: Estimating the Effects of Financial Aid Verification on College Enrollment
1:00 – 1:45 pm Poster Session
2:00 – 2:50 pm Session 1 (8 to 10-minute student presentations; 8 to 10-minute remarks from discussant; Q&A and audience discussion)
3:00 – 3:50 pm Session 2 (8 to 10-minute student presentations; 8 to 10-minute remarks from the discussant; Q&A and audience discussion)
4:00 – 4:50 pm Session 3 (8 to 10-minute students presentations; 8 to 10-minute remarks from the discussant; Q&A and audience discussion)
5:00 – 5:15 pm Closing remarks and awards announcement

Keynote Speaker: Manuel S. González Canché

The Hidden Costs of Corroboration: Estimating the Effects of Financial Aid Verification on College Enrollment

Manuel S. González Canché brings an innovative set of tools — including econometric, geospatial, and network analysis methods — to study the structural factors that influence minority and at-risk students’ likelihood of success, including less access to financial, academic, and social resources. He aims to identify plans of action capable of closing these social and economic gaps. His work has already challenged traditional ideas about access, persistence, and success in higher education, and has led to a better understanding of the effect of location, influence, and competition.

Manuel González Canché joined the Higher Education division as an associate professor in 2017. At Penn GSE he also serves as affiliated faculty with the Human Development and Quantitative Methods division and the International Educational Development Program. In addition, he is a senior scholar in the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy.

As a low-income and first-generation college student, González Canché has a special interest in understanding structural factors that influence minority and at-risk students’ likelihood of educational and occupational success. He aims to identify plans of action capable of closing social and economic gaps resulting from students’ reduced access to financial, academic, and social resources. His findings have offered a more nuanced understanding of the effect of location, influence, and competition, and have challenged traditional ideas about access, persistence, and success in higher education.

González Canché is the 2016 recipient of the Association for the Study of Higher Education’s Promising Scholar/Early Career Award. He has secured funding for research from the Spencer Foundation, the American Education Research Association/National Science Foundation, the Association for Institutional Research, and the Institute of Education Sciences.

González Canché’s research follows two interconnected paths. The first concerns issues of access, persistence, and success, with an emphasis on institution effects–such as 2-year versus 4-year college and distance from home—on students’ outcomes The second focuses on higher education finance, with emphases on spatial modeling and competition based on spatial proximity and spillover effects.

In his research González Canché employs econometric, quasi-experimental, spatial statistics, and visualization methods for big and geocoded data, including geographical information systems, representation of real-world networks, and text-mining techniques. In related work, he aims to harness the mathematical power of network analysis to find structure in written content. He is proposing an analytic method (Network Analysis of Qualitative Data) that blends quantitative, mathematical, and qualitative principles to analyze text data. Similarly, he is also proposing the implementation of geographical network analyses that merge network principles and spatial econometrics to model spatial dependence of the outcome variables before making inferential claims. Both of these approaches are yet to be broadly implemented in higher education research.

Recent projects include:

  • Overcoming the Geography of Disadvantage: A Spillovers Framework to Identify Structural Means to Enhance Community College Students’ Educational Outcomes Despite Their Location. Funding: $70,000. NAED/Spencer postdoctoral fellowship. Funding period: January 2019–December 2020.
  • Employment Volatility in the Academic Workforce: Implications for Faculty Financial and Retirement Plans. Funding: $70,000. TIAA institute. Funding period: April 2019– February 2020.
  • The Effect of the Uniform Bar Examination on Diversity, Affordability, and Employment Prospects. Funding: $71,128. AccessLEX Institute. Funding period: April 2019–September 2020.
  • Estimating the Effect of Losing the Federal Loan Subsidy on Debt Accumulation for Law and Professional Students in the United States: Evidence From a Natural Experiment (Principal Investigator). Funding: $49,997. Association for Institutional Research, Access Group/AIR Grant (grant #RG1606). Funding period: March 2016–April 2017.
  • Are there Any Educational and Financial Detriments Associated with Nearby College Enrollment? (Principal Investigator). Funding: $20,000. American Education Research Association/National Science Foundation (grant #DRL-0941014). Funding period: March 2016–August 2017.
  • Toward an Alliance to Prepare a National Faculty for Broadening Success of Underrepresented 2-Year and 4-Year STEM Students (Senior Personnel). Funding: $300,000. National Science Foundation. Funding period: January 2017-January 2019.
  • The Gendered Career Path from Doctorate to Faculty Appointment: A Multi-State Analysis (Co-Principal Investigator). Funding: $39,966, AIR/NCES/NSF (grant #RG15-9240). Year: 2015–2016.
  • Improving the Teaching and Learning of English Language Learners: The Instructional Conversation Model (Co-Principal Investigator). Funding: $1.5 million. Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Funding period: 2012–2016.
  • Financial Benefits of Student Loan Repayment: An Analytic Framework Employing Two Decades of Data (Principal Investigator). Funding: $35,100. The Spencer Foundation (grant #201500116). Funding period: January–December 2015.

Steele Symposium Panels

Follows Integrating Equity in Research Design, Analysis, Interpretation and Dissemination theme

Submitted for prize consideration

Session 1 (2:00-2:50pm)

Session Chair: Tia Barnes

Alexus Ramirez
Ph.D. in Education (Learning Sciences)
Do Parents’ Beliefs About Baby Talk Match Their Interactions With Their Infants?
Infant Directed Speech (IDS) is a commonly used term that highlights how many people talk with young children, whether they are aware of it or not. Compared to speech addressed to an adult, IDS has a slower rate, uses fewer words, high pitch, elongated vowels, and a narrow set of vocabulary words. IDS encourages infants to pay attention to language and promotes social interaction between the infant and caregiver. Despite the plethora of support for utilizing IDS, North American English-speaking mothers still typically agree that the use of baby talk interferes with language development. The proposed study aims to explore parental beliefs about IDS in relation to what they actually do when speaking to their 15- to 20-month-old child.

Tara Silberg
B.S. in Human Services
Impact of the Holocaust on the Parenting of Survivors
This paper explores the subject of how the Holocaust influenced the parenting of those who survived, as well as the second generation (the survivors’ children). Focusing on the effects of not only how the experiences of the concentration camps influenced how survivors made decisions in their parenting, but it also examines what toll such indirect effects had on the generation following those who experienced the camps. It argues that while survivors did take the role of parents to their children post-war, children of survivors also often felt the need to protect their parents who were still emotionally harmed after experiencing atrocities of the Holocaust. Overall, it was found that the children of these survivors continue to be impacted by their parents’ experiences to this day.

Gerilyn Slicker
Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences
Using National and Statewide Data to Examine Provider Participation in the Child Care Subsidy System
Early care and education is unaffordable for many U.S. families, particularly those living in poverty. Though federal child care subsidies can offset the cost of care, the number of providers accepting subsidies is declining. This study identifies factors that may influence providers’ subsidy system participation, focusing specifically on factors amenable to policy intervention, using both nationally representative data from the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education (n=7,771) and survey data from one state context, Arkansas (n=453). Results suggest providers who integrate sources of both private and public funding are more likely to serve children using subsidies. Findings of this study may provide policymakers guidance for incentivizing provider subsidy system participation.

Session Chair: Christina Barbieri

Julien Corven
Ph.D. in Education (Mathematics Education)
Prospective Elementary Teachers’ Development of Specialized Content Knowledge for Whole Number Division
Teacher preparation programs must ensure prospective teachers (PTs) develop specialized content knowledge (SCK) for key mathematics topics. I examined SCK development for division of whole numbers among 59 elementary PTs enrolled in their first mathematics content course. Latent class analysis revealed four distinct SCK development profiles. A discriminant function analysis with prior knowledge and dispositional factors moderately predicted PT classification to the profiles. Triangulation with final grades demonstrated that the SCK profiles and the discriminant function analysis had modest predictive utility for overall success in the course. Further research is needed to understand how to identify and assist PTs who might experience limited SCK development from course instruction alone.

Kwaku Edusei
Ph.D. in Education (Mathematics Education)
Integrating Game Mechanics and Math Content in Math Game Design
There has been a longstanding scrutiny of the affordances of educational games to both engage students, and teach them educational content. Despite these capabilities, experts agree that these affordances of educational games are contingent upon the extent to which the game’s educational content, and its game mechanics and/or game features are integrated. The purpose of this study is to investigate designers’ perspectives on (a) what mathematics means to them, (b) their descriptions and values about integration of math content and game mechanics, and (c) why they made specific design choices when designing their math game. In this study, designers (n=6) were interviewed and asked several questions within the 3 domains above. I will share several preliminary impressions from my interviews.

Kelly-Ann Gesuelli
Ph.D. in Education (School Psychology)
Fraction Arithmetic Development: A Longitudinal Study on Students’ Growth and Errors During the Intermediate Grades
Many students make little progress in their fraction knowledge and display fraction arithmetic difficulties (Resnick et al., 2017) during the critical intermediate grades (4th- 6th). We examined students’ fraction arithmetic skills during these grades and analyzed their errors. LCGA revealed 3 growth classes: high, low, and consistently accurate. In 4th and 5th grade, high growth students used the common “add/subtract across denominators” strategy on 41-71% of their errors but made few errors in 6th grade. Low growth students’ errors reflected a mix of conceptually inappropriate procedures across grades (63-83% of errors). Findings suggest low growth students have fundamental fraction difficulties that should be addressed by core instruction in both fraction and whole number concepts.

Scott Sheridan
Ph.D. in Education student (Learning Sciences)
Promoting Computational Thinking using Digital Technologies: Choosing the Right Tool for the Job
Most teachers have limited capabilities to create with computers themselves let alone teach such concepts to students. Fortunately, teachers do not need to be proficient coders to prepare students to learn these skills. Rather, they need to understand and implement Computational Thinking (CT), a problem solving approach that incorporates integral computing concepts. Digital technologies may afford teachers opportunities to integrate such computing principles into lessons containing core curricular concepts. This preliminary study explores pre-service elementary teachers use of two digital tools to create lessons which infuse CT into a variety of core subjects. Results offer insight into how digital technologies might be better leveraged to support students’ learning of CT.

Session Chair: Elizabeth Farley-Ripple

Discussant: Kati Tilley

Nick Bell and Diane Codding
Ph.D. in Education students (Sociocultural and Community-Based Approaches)
Understanding the Preparation of Teacher Candidates’ Sociopolitical Identity
Teacher educators have a limited amount of time to prepare candidates for becoming political change agents. Therefore, we have to understand the efficacy of preparation efforts. As a result, we developed the Equity Scenario Response Survey to understand our candidates’ preparation of their sociopolitical identity, defined by equity knowledge and skills. Findings from quantitative analyses revealed a reliable and valid scale, while qualitative analyses provided rich information about candidates’ understanding and application of skills. Overall, the utilization of quantitative and qualitative methods allowed researchers to understand from a critical race perspective, the preparedness of candidates’ sociopolitical identity to confront inequities.

Casey Griffin
Ph.D. in Education student (Mathematics Education)
Female Sense of Belonging and Active Learning in Calculus (could be math learning)
Women continue to be underrepresented in undergraduate STEM majors. Low sense of belonging among female students and poor instruction of introductory STEM courses, especially Calculus, have been identified as major contributors to females leaving STEM. Incorporating active learning into Calculus instruction has potential to support female students in building a stronger sense of belonging and persisting in STEM. This study examines differences in female students’ sense of belonging and instructional experience in two versions of introductory Calculus – a standard course and a non-standard course infused with active learning. Females in the non-standard course reported significantly higher sense of belonging than female students in the standard course.

Nefetaria Yates
Ph.D. in Education student (Sociocultural and Community-Based Approaches)
Colors Outside the Lines: Recollections & Reflections on Black Girlhood
Inspired by the archetypes of Nina Simone’s 1966 jazz classic “Four Women” – Aunt Sarah, Saffronia, Sweet Thing, and Peaches, this interview project retrospectively explores the K-12 schooling experiences of Black women (20 total) to provide a nuanced view of Black female identity development, notions of radical self-love, and insight into the alchemy of Black Girl Magic (Thomas, 2015; Wilson, 2016). Moreover, these reflections serve as a lens through which we can interrogate racial and gender stereotypes, systems of power, and dominant cultural norms.

Session 2 (3:00-3:50pm)

Session Chair: Josh Wilson

Discussant: Andrew Potter

Daniela Avelar
Ph.D. in Education student (Learning Sciences)
The Spanish and English Reading Questionnaire (SER-Q): Results from a New Survey
Shared reading is crucial for children’s literacy development, yet Hispanic families seem to read less frequently (e.g., Boyce et al., 2004). Current surveys on shared reading do not distinguish between reading in English or Spanish. The new Spanish and English Reading Questionnaire (SER-Q) examines parents’ reading practices in each language and explores how interactions may differ depending on book language. Hispanic parents (N = 94) of 1- to 6-year-olds completed the SER-Q. Parents reported they read more frequently and had more books in English than Spanish. Reading practices differed by mothers’ education, language used with the child, and book language. Results suggest it is critical to examine language and demographics to understand reading interactions in Hispanic families better.

Matthew Myers
Ph.D. in Education (Literacy)
Exploring the construct validity of an automated writing evaluation engine with manipulations of masterwork narratives
This study first illustrates the relationship between text length and the six scoring traits of an automated writing evaluation (AWE) engine. Short stories from a grade 9 literature anthology were selected to control for errors that are typical of student writers. A regression curve of fit revealed that there exists a point of saturation that can be used to anticipate the engine’s scoring behavior beyond a specified word count. Next, the construct validity of scoring traits for the same texts was evaluated via manipulations of story structure. Complete randomizations did not significantly impact trait scoring, indicating a disconnect between the engine’s formal feedback and its underlying constructs. These findings have implications for current and potential consumers of AWE systems.

Ye Shen
Ph.D. in Education (Literacy)
Intrinsic Brain Connectivity Differentiates between Languages’ Orthographic Depth
Orthographic depth, the consistency and complexity of grapheme-phoneme correspondence, influences brain activation in bilinguals’ first (L1) and second language (L2). Here, I investigated differences in resting-state functional connectivity between two groups of bilinguals, those whose L2 orthography is deeper than their L1 and those whose L2 orthography is shallower than their L1. Stronger functional connectivity was observed with the shallower L2 group between the left pSMG and the precuneus/cingulate gyrus and the right SMG/angular gyrus. Further, connectivity differences were found between the left pSMG and the left anterior temporal fusiform and the right temporal pole between bilinguals and multilinguals. Thus, pSMG connectivity reflects orthographic depth and multilingualism.

Fan Zhang
Ph.D. in Education (Literacy)
The Role of Morphological Awareness in Reading Comprehension for Chinese-speaking English as a Foreign Language Learners (EFL) and English as a Second Language Learners (ESL)
This study examined the similarities and differences in the role of morphological awareness (MA) on reading comprehension (RC) across three groups of bilingual adolescents (i.e., EFL learners in China, recent ESL learners (ESL-R) in Canada, and long-term ESL learners (ESL-L) in Canada). Participants completed parallel measures of word-level reading (decoding for English (E), character reading for Chinese (C)), vocabulary, MA, and RC in Chinese and English. Results identified transfer of EMA to CRC for EFL and ESL-R, but not ESL-L. Additionally, transfer of CMA to ERC was evident for ESL-R only. Overall, we demonstrated that language proficiency, societal, and educational experience influence the strength and directions of cross-language transfer.

Session Chair: Erica Litke

Discussant: Brianna Devlin

Matthew Melville
Ph.D. in Education (Mathematics Education)
Japanese Instructional Circles
Interest in Japanese mathematics teaching has been motivated through their high achievement scores in international mathematics assessments (e.g., TIMSS). Lesson study is perhaps the most influential idea from the study of Japanese mathematics education. This mode of professional development has been widely studied and implemented in adapted versions in various countries (Fujii, 2013). Lesson study implementation outside of Japan has had mixed results (Doig, Groves, & Fujii, 2011). Miyakawa & Winslow (2019) argue that Japanese lesson study cannot be fully understood without understanding the entire “infrastructure” of work and development of a Japanese teacher. One part of this “infrastructure” that can support teachers’ ability to engage in lesson study is teacher instructional circles.

Amanda Mohammad Mirzaei
Ph.D. in Education (Mathematics Education)
Introductory Calculus Goals and Instruction: Descriptions from Secondary and Postsecondary Instructors
I investigated the goals and reported instructional practices of three groups of calculus instructors: AP Calculus, postsecondary introductory calculus, and postsecondary second-course calculus. These groups were chosen to represent the various ways students might move to and through introductory calculus. I considered how instructors’ goals and reported instruction aligned across groups. I surveyed and interviewed 9 participants (3 from each group). Results illustrate that while participants across the groups expressed similar goals around the critical take-aways of calculus, differences exist in instructional practices used to achieve these goals between secondary and postsecondary instructors.

Haobai Zhang
Ph.D. in Education (Learning Sciences)
Exploring Co-development of Executive Functions and Math Achievement Using Cross-lagged Panel Model with Fixed Effects
Executive functioning (EF) appears to play an important role in children’s mathematics skill development, both concurrently and longitudinally. Although strong associations between EF subcomponents and mathematics achievement have been found, the direction of these associations over time is equivocal. Using the large-scale nationally representative dataset (N = 18,174) from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten:2011 (ECLS-K:2011), we examined the reciprocal relationship between math achievement and two components of EF (working memory (WM) and cognitive flexibility (CF)) from kindergarten to fifth grade using causal inference methods.

Session Chair: Laura Eisenman

Amber Beliakoff
Ph.D. in Education (Learning Sciences)
The Identification of Children At-Risk for Mathematics Difficulties: Comparing Two Forms of an Early Number Sense Screener
Early numerical competencies accurately predict later academic achievement. Thus, teachers need to be equipped to identify children who may be at-risk for mathematics difficulties (MD). The present study investigated the diagnostic accuracy of two forms of the Screener for Early Number Sense (SENS), a screening tool designed for pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade. Children were assessed on the SENS (N = 450) and given a mathematics achievement test one year later. At each grade level, the two forms of the SENS were statistically contrasted to determine if one screener produces higher diagnostic accuracy. The practical utility of the SENS was evaluated via item analyses, posttest probabilities, and growth analysis. Findings and practical implications will be discussed.

Yue Huang
Ph.D. in Educational Statistics and Research Methods
Using Automated Feedback to Develop Writing Proficiency
The present study examined growth in writing quality associated with automated feedback provided by an automated writing evaluation (AWE) software and whether prolonged usage of the software was associated with gains in students’ independent performance (i.e., unaided transfer) and in students’ ability to effectively revise their writing with the aid of automated feedback (i.e., aided transfer). Data were collected from 431 students in Grades 4-5 . Hierarchical growth curve modeling revealed a non-linear, decelerating shape of growth in writing performance across successive revisions. Hierarchical gain score modeling showed that there were no unaided transfer effects for average initial draft scores, but an aided transfer effect was evidenced in students’ gain in growth rates.

Melissa Stoffers
Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences
Board Certified Behavior Analysts’ Experiences Teaching Sex Education
Sex education access is correlated with expressive communication ability (Barnard-Brak et al., 2014). Therefore, individuals with autism, a disability associated with challenges in social communication (McPartland, 2016), may be less likely to receive sex education. Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) are well-positioned to teach sex education to individuals with autism. This study, developed in partnership with a research advisory board, sought to understand BCBAs’ experiences teaching sex education. Nine BCBAs participated in semi-structured interviews. A thematic analysis was conducted, and we identified five themes: Restriction, Problem Behavior as an Impetus for Sex Education, How Impairment Affects Instruction, Centrality of Consent, and Questioning Qualifications.

Majd Subih
Ph.D. in Education (Sociocultural and Community-Based Approaches)
Doing Research with Disabled Syrian Refugees: Challenges and Insights
This presentation reflects on a pilot research study that I conducted during the Fall of 2020. I aimed to explore the experiences of Syrian refugees with disabilities who were in high school or college/university and living in the US. I wanted to explore their educational, refugee, and disability experiences and how such experiences influence their identities and sense of self. Even though my original plan did not go as planned, I still learned a lot regarding challenges that I will face going forward with this research, especially in regard to participant recruitment, differing perspectives on disability, and disability stigma. I will focus first on the overall challenges that I faced during the pilot study. Then I will shift to discussing theoretical and methodologic implications.

Session 3 (4:00-4:50pm)

Session Chair: Bryan VanGronigen

Cara Kelly
Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences
Validating a Teacher Engagement Scale for Professional Development
The development of the Sustained Investment and Teacher Engagement Scale for Professional Development (SITES-PD) grew out of a need to understand how teachers respond to opportunities for professional learning in ways that contribute to skill improvement. One hundred and eight elementary teachers participated in a sustained professional development coaching intervention. Baseline and posttest data were collected from multiple sources (e.g., teacher report, blind classroom observations). For the development of this instrument, coaches rated teacher engagement with opportunities for professional learning. Results suggest the SITES-PD instrument may be a useful tool for investigating the underlying mechanisms that mediate the efficacy of teacher professional development interventions.

AJ de Coteau
Ph.D. in Education (Sociocultural and Community-Based Approaches)
Decolonizing Academia: African Storytelling as a Qualitative Methodology
Sharing the stories and experiences of Black and African American students is becoming ever more important here in the United States. Increasingly, scholars express the need for a methodological approach that centers the voices of Black students. This paper explores the ways in which African Storytelling can be used as a research methodology to understand the varying experiences of Black and African American students in higher education. African oral traditions date back over 2,000 years. Throughout history, the value of this tradition has been dismissed by the ivory tower of western academia.

Sara Gartland
Ph.D. in Education (Sociocultural and Community-Based Approaches)
Opportunities for Equitable Instruction within Instruction that Supports Students’ Mathematical Learning and Social-Emotional Learning
This qualitative case study sought to identify opportunities for equitable instruction within instruction identified as supporting students’ mathematical learning (ML) and social-emotional learning (SEL). Three research questions: 1) In what ways do teachers support students’ ML and SEL during instruction? 2) How do teachers characterize their attempts to support students’ ML and SEL? 3) What are student perceptions of instruction identified as supporting students’ ML and SEL?

Angela Soltys
Ph.D. in Education (School Psychology)
Social-Emotional Competence, Interpersonal Relationships, and Rules: Multilevel Associations with Student Engagement
This presentation will review results of a recent study that examined the multilevel relation of student engagement in elementary and secondary school to students’ perceptions of their social-emotional competence, school-based interpersonal relationships, and fairness of school rules, measured by scales on the Delaware School Surveys. Results showed that elementary schools had higher student engagement than secondary schools. Positive and significant associations were found between social-emotional competence, interpersonal relationships, fairness of school rules, and student engagement at both the student- and school-level. At both levels, the association between social-emotional competence and student engagement was the strongest among the predictors included in the models. 

Session Chair: Kenneth Shores

Aly Blakeney
Ph.D. in Economic Education
Under-borrowing a Thing? Exploring Whether Students Choose High Work Hours Over Student Loans
Through the use of a survey and debt-bias measure at two public institutes of higher education, we examine the prevalence and extent of the phenomenon of “under-borrowing”: students choosing to fund their education through 20+ work hours a week at low-wage jobs over taking out federal student loans. I will present preliminary results and findings, as well as discuss plans for future exploratory research.

Josh Dalton and Meaghan Vitale
Ph.D. in Economic Education
Same School, Different Returns: The Benefits for Women in Economics Relative to Business
Economists have long noted that economics is less a set of skills and more a way of thinking, especially relative to other fields in the academy. The purpose of this paper is to see if majoring in economics results in higher horizontal job mismatch, earnings, and job satisfaction for women relative to those with business degrees. We also seek to strengthen any findings by mitigating or eliminating the effect of selection bias with inverse propensity score weighting. We find that for women an economics degree causes higher job mismatch and earnings, but lower job satisfaction relative to a business degree.

Pragya Shrestha
Ph.D. in Education (Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics)
Efficacy of Bayesian Rate Ratio for Estimating Effect Size of Single Case Experimental Designs
Statistical methods used in Single Case Experimental Designs (SCED) are mostly suitable for analyzing continuous data. However, count outcome is more prevalent in SCED. The Bayesian Rate Ratio (BRR) effect size is a within-subject effect size for autocorrelated count data. The current paper examines the efficacy of BRR as an effect size using simulation under various conditions of phase lengths, autocorrelation, and standardized mean difference effect size. Preliminary results with 5 replications show the Root Mean Squared Error of the posterior mean of effect size is lower for longer phase length, low autocorrelation value, and smaller phase mean difference. A thorough assessment of the BRR effect size will determine the efficacy of BRR effect size as a valid and reliable index for SCED.



Follows Integrating Equity in Research Design, Analysis, Interpretation and Dissemination theme

Submitted for prize consideration

Bataul Alkhateeb (Breakout room #1)
Ph.D. in Education (Learning Sciences)

Computer science as a field continues to lack diverse repression from minoritized individuals and women. One way to effectively address this leak in representation is by tackling systematic changes in computer science education. Teachers’ instructional practices can be transformed to create meaningful and equitable learning experiences for students by adopting culturally responsive pedagogy. This research looks at the ways teachers conceptualize culturally responsive pedagogy within the context of computer science after attending an equity focused professional development. Findings reveal that teachers are planning to integrate inclusive practices and curricula in their teaching to create a rigorous yet inclusive experience for students.

Lauren Baran (Breakout room #2)
B.S. in Neuroscience

In adolescents, low sleep duration is associated with psychiatric disorders, cognitive problems (Cheng et al., 2020), and low academic performance (Eliasson et al., 2002). This is particularly problematic for racial and ethnic minorities, who are at increased risk of low sleep duration (Singh et al., 2013). We aim to understand the impact of stress on sleep, which, in turn, is expected to impact academic success differentially by race and ethnicity. Childhood socioeconomic status and sports involvement are hypothesized to act as protective factors, providing adolescents with resilience in the face of stress as adversity. Structural equation models (SEM) are used to analyze the effect of stress on sleep and academics across and within racial and ethnic minority groups.

Sarah Clerjuste (Breakout room #3)
Ph.D. in in Educational Statistics & Research Methods

Prior work demonstrates that providing feedback and the opportunity to revise leads students to correct their mistakes and improve performance. Alibali (1999) shows that feedback plays a pivotal role in generating strategies for solving mathematical equivalence problems. We build upon that work by examining the effect of feedback with the opportunity to revise on mathematical problem-solving. We propose a 2 (Revision vs, No Revision) x 2 (Feedback vs. No Feedback) experimental study to examine the unique and combined effects of feedback and revision on mathematics performance. We hypothesize that the three revision and feedback conditions will outperform the problem-solving control. Further, we hypothesize that the two feedback conditions will outperform the revision-only condition.

Tania Cruz (Breakout room #4)
Ph.D. in Education (Learning Sciences)

Patterns are ubiquitous and relevant across domains, scales, disciplines, and cultures. Recognizing patterns is strongly related to spatial learning. However, this skill is often overlooked in school. The pattern alphabet (pABC; Wolf et al., 2021) is a set of basic patterns that codify the way nature builds, grows, and scales. These building blocks can be combined to understand objects in the environment and to start developing analogical reasoning. We will investigate whether 5-year-old children can identify these patterns in photographs of natural objects and artifacts using a forced-choice matching task. As a validity check, children will also complete standardized measures of spatial and numeracy skills. We hypothesize that children’s performance on the pABC matching task will correlate with the spatial and number assessments.

Amanda Delgado (Breakout room #5)
Ph.D. in Education (Learning Sciences)

Reading to children contributes to later academic success (e.g., Clark et al., 2010). Children can comprehend books over video chat (Gaudreau et al., 2020), possibly benefiting those from disadvantaged backgrounds who are likely to experience less and lower-quality language input (Hirsh-Pasek et al., 2015). Here, low-income preschoolers will hear a storybook over video chat or a prerecorded video and be taught words with and without gestures. They will also complete measures of vocabulary and comprehension. We predict 1) that children will comprehend and remember stories and vocabulary better when they are read to over video chat than by a prerecorded video; and 2) that the use of gestures will promote vocabulary learning.

Rachel Fidel (Breakout room #6)
Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences

Young children are expelled from childcare at 34 times the rate of K-12 expulsions. This prevents young children with challenging behaviors from receiving the benefits of high-quality early childhood education and creates stress for disproportionately low-income families. Following federal guidance from the Child Care Development Block Grant Act, states have attempted to reduce early childhood suspensions and expulsions through various agencies, including childcare licensing, state Pre-K, and Quality Rating & Improvement Systems. An important mechanism to ensure that prevention policies are effective is to ensure that agency policy language is aligned. This poster will present the findings of an analysis comparing the language used in agency policies that address suspension and expulsion.

Allison Gantt (Breakout room #7)
Ph.D. in Education (Mathematics Education)

In this study, I examine how the construction and use of representations might relate to the learning process in a problem-solving task about slope. I conducted two task-based interviews with eighth-grade students who had not yet engaged in formal study of slope to explore this relationship. I highlight one case for each student during which construction of a new representation (specifically a table or graph) coincided with a shift in their problem-solving approach, which I operationalize as student use of a representation. I discuss the implications of these moments in generating opportunities to learn.

Imani Lawson (Breakout room #8)
Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences

This study leverages administrative data from an EHS program in the Mid-Atlantic region serving over 200 highly diverse families each year. The EHS program uses the Infant Toddler Family Map (IT-FM) as a screening tool to assess families’ risks and strengths. Over the years, data collected from the IT-FM has shown that certain challenges that families face upon entering the program tend to improve after 6 months of participation in EHS. Unfortunately, the pandemic that began in the spring of 2020 imposed new hardships on vulnerable families. The IT-FM data collected from the onset of the pandemic shows several new difficulties that families face. This study will focus on the change in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) reported before and during the pandemic.

Sarah Minacci (Breakout room #9)
B.A. in Biological Sciences

Recently, there has been a great surge in interest, knowledge, and technology surrounding genetics and genetic services. In 1988, Harris’s pioneering manuscript “Genetic Counselling and the New Genetics” envisioned the future of genetic counseling as one “confirming clinical diagnoses, recognizing genetic heterogeneity, assessing risk, and providing a link between laboratories, physicians, and patients.” Now as the field of genetics booms, genetic counselors are poised to bridge the gap between genetic knowledge and education. This is particularly important for genetics literacy, as many of those faced with medical decisions that rely on genetic literacy are from a generation where human genetics was not a part of their formal education. This state-of-the-art review provides insights into how to bridge the gap between genetic knowledge and adult education to increase genetics literacy for those who need it most.”

Xueli Qiu (Breakout room #10)
Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences

Studies show HIV-related stigma impedes the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV (PLWH). HIV-related stigma is often studied through psychosocial perspectives without considering structural influences. Drawing on qualitative data from 42 PLWH and 14 care providers who resided in Delaware, this study examined PLWH’s experiences of HIV-related stigma and explored how geography, culture and social relationships shaped their experiences of HIV-related stigma. Results suggest differences based on geographic location, race and ethnicity, gender identity, and social relationships. While Hispanic and Haitian communities suffer greater HIV-related stigma, sexual minority cultures empower PLWH to counteract stigma. Implications of HIV-related stigma reduction interventions are discussed.

Ethan Smith (Breakout room #11)
Ph.D. in Education (Mathematics Education)

It is impossible to disentangle the use of language from the learning of mathematics. As such, the attention to literacy by math teachers is a critical aspect of math teaching. This poster describes a framework for recognizing “syntactic literacy affordances” that teachers enact with the literacies of reading, writing, speaking, and listening and demonstrates the application of this framework in the context of twelve secondary mathematics lessons. The framework describes how these literacies operate as representational systems, thus better relating the syntactic structures within and semantic connections between these literacies which teachers might use to focus students on mathematical ideas. The application of this framework indicates the roles that literacy plays in math teaching.

Caitlyn Roche (Breakout room #12)
B.S. in Linguistics & Cognitive Sciences, Human Development & Family Sciences and Disabilities Studies minor

Studies have shown that receiving speech or language services for expressive language delays positively impacts academic indices of success (e.g., Del Tufo, Earle, & Cutting, 2019). However, beyond expressive language delays we do not know if receiving services before the age of 5 positively impacts academic performance. We analyzed a national sample of data to determine the (1) factors that lead a child to receive speech or language services before age 5, and (2) the impact of receiving speech or language services on indices of academic success. Hierarchical logistic regression and linear regression were used to answer the aforementioned questions, respectively. Results indicate that several additional factors influenced receipt of services, which, in turn, impacted academic engagement.

Kateri Sternberg (Breakout room #13)
Ph.D. in Education (Mathematics Education)

This study aims to understand the beliefs that middle school math PSTs hold about tracking practices in the middle grades and potential influential experiences that have lead to the development of these beliefs. Through a survey and semi-structured interviews, I examine what experiences middle school math PSTs have had with ability-based course assignment as well as what affordances and constraints they perceive for teaching and learning within tracked math classrooms. I find a lack of awareness in how course placements were determined in middle school, but a high level of awareness in high school. The lack of mobility is seen as an important constraint of a more highly tracked system. Dividing students into classes based on ability was never seen as a constraint and was rarely mentioned.

Tamara Turski (Breakout room #14)
B.S. in Early Childhood Education

The current study focuses on the impact of adoption on indices of academic success. Previous investigations have suggested that adopted children perform less well academically in both reading and math (Beckett, 2007). Yet this result–children who are adopted having poorer academic performance–is not consistent across the literature. (Bramlett et al., 2011). Any differences in adoptees academic success have been largely attributed to age of adoption. Children adopted at an earlier age are reported in the literature to be perceived as more likely to be academically successfully with greater cognitive abilities. However, this interpretation does not account for the period in which adoptees and their new families adjust to one another. A period we refer to as relational uncertainty.

Kamal Chowla (Breakout room #15)
Ph.D. in Educational Statistics and Research Methods

The current meta-analysis assesses the effect of worked examples on mathematics performance. We assess moderators of the effect across experimental and quasi-experimental studies. Authors conducted a search to identify relevant studies utilizing three electronic databases. A search of published manuscripts was reduced to 46 that met inclusion criteria. The team is extracting data from published studies while screening dissertation abstracts for exclusion. A multivariate meta-analysis with RVE allows us to examine multiple outcomes with multiple effect sizes and, if needed, multiple time points. Moderators assessed will include example type, target content, type of outcome measure, delivery method, grade/school level of participants, duration and dosage, and study quality.


Participant Details

All Student Participants

The Steele Symposium is a wonderful chance for undergraduate and graduate students showcase their work. If you are interested in presenting, please talk with your adviser or other faculty sponsor well in advance.

New this year is a symposium theme: Integrating Equity in Research Design, Analysis, Interpretation and Dissemination. We would like to give students an opportunity to reflect on this theme and share related work. However, the Steele Symposium remains an opportunity for students to share all work, whether it aligns with the theme or not. If your presentation aligns with the theme, students have the option to designate that on the registration form, and all presentations around the theme will be specified in the program schedule. There will be an additional award for posters and papers entered in the judging competition and are designated by the students as aligned with the theme.

Presenter Feedback Forms are distributed at each speaker session and the results will be shared with the presenters following the event.

Program Requirement for Ph.D. in Education, Ph.D. in Economic Education and Ph.D. in ESRM Students

Participation in the research symposium is required for Ph.D. in Education, Ph.D. in Economic Education and Ph.D. in ESRM students to provide experience with professional conference style presentations, and to share your work with your colleagues and faculty. Generally, first-year students attend the event, second year students provide a poster presentation, and students in their third and fourth years and beyond give an oral presentation of research (and now fourth year students have the option of being a discussant). However, Ph.D. students are welcome to present at any time.


Presentation Options

  • Oral presentations of research will be combined into panel sessions comprised of three to four students. Advanced students will serve as discussants.
  • Students should register and provide the title of their presentation and abstract by March 12, 2021.
  • For students who are choosing to compete for a monetary prize, their papers will also be due on March 12. Paper presenters should prepare a 10-minute presentation for the Symposium on April 23.
  • Presenters who elect not to participate in the judging process need register by March 12. Next, by April 7, they will need to upload a summary of their presentation, PowerPoint slides or similar to be shared with the discussant.  Lastly, they will prepare a 10-minute presentation for the Symposium on April 23.
  • Students can present their research in graphic form during the poster session and select from participating in the judging process or simply presenting their posters at the Symposium. Registration is due by March 12 for this option.
  • For students who will participate in the prize competition, they will need to submit their poster files by March 12.
  • For students who do not want to participate in the poster judging process, they need to have their posters ready to present at the Symposium on April 23.

Poster details:

  • It is required to develop your poster using one of the UD templates. You may download a CEHD template or a UD template.
  • The role of discussant is possible for advanced graduate students who have previously presented a paper at the Steele Symposium and would like a new role. Advanced graduate students who want to be considered for a discussant role, please indicate that on the registration form (due March 23) and we will assign you to a session based on submissions and your area of expertise.
  • We will notify those who applied to be discussants by March 26. If you are not accepted as a discussant but still required to participate, you may submit a late entry for paper or poster presentation, which will be due April 2.
  • For students who are accepted as discussants, plan to receive summaries of papers by April 9, giving you two weeks to prepare your remarks for the Symposium.
  • Discussants synthesize the papers to draw on common themes. Discussants typically provide critiques of the papers, pointing out strengths, areas that would improve the paper, and suggestions for future study. Some resources for discussants can be found here.
Graduate Student Guidelines for Paper Submission Undergraduate Student Guidelines for Paper Submission
Graduate-level papers have a 5-page limit. All submissions must be double-spaced, in Times New Roman font, 12-point size, with 1-inch margins, top, bottom, right, and left. Undergraduate-level papers have a 3-page limit. All submissions must be double-spaced, in Times New Roman font, 12-point size, with 1-inch margins, top, bottom, right, and left.
May submit 2 additional pages of tables or figures. May submit 2 additional pages of tables or figures.
A research report should provide background, rationale, questions, methodology, results, and implications of a completed study.

A theoretical or policy paper should provide a brief overview of the issue to be address, related research findings, conclusions, and implications.

A research report should provide background, rationale, questions, methodology, results, and implications of a completed study.

A theoretical or policy paper should provide a brief overview of the issue to be address, related research findings, conclusions, and implications.

  1. To be considered for an award, the student’s paper or poster submission must be the original work of the student. Co-authors may submit for award consideration, as long as the co-authors are UD students. Papers or posters co-authored with faculty may not be submitted for award consideration. Students can acknowledge a faculty member’s lab. Please discuss any questions with your faculty advisor or sponsor.
  2. Papers and posters that are being considered for awards must be blinded by the student prior to submitting the document with the registration form by March 23. Please ensure that you have removed all identifying information. Only the poster file needs to be uploaded by March 23.


If you have any questions about the event, please contact Christina Johnston at cmj@udel.edu or 302-831-6955.